EU Roaming completely free BY June 15 2017?
Yes and no. For 90% of European travellers roaming will be free, but for some it will not be.
There are some “safeguards” that shall prevent misusage of “roam like home”:
1) Data allowance while travelling the EU is based on your monthly phone bill, not on your domestic data plan (to find our your data amout see our calculator).
If the calculated travelling data allowance exceeds your maximum domestic data allowance, the domestic allowance will apply while travelling the EU.
Example: If the calculator says 10GB but your domestic plan includes only 5GB, your allowance will be 5GB (your travelling data allowance will never be more than your domestic data package).
2) The new “roam like home” rules are not meant to be used as a permanent roaming solution. So if you use it more than 4 month outside where the SIM-card was registered, the operator can ask you to clarify the situation and eventually start charging extra fees again (for both data and calls/texts).
So can I use all included minutes, texts and data allowances in my phone plan while travelling Europe?
This really depends where the SIM-card was registered. Use the calculator provided on this website. In some cases yes, in many other no.
Why this crazy rules?
Well, these rules are so called “safeguards” to help prevent misusage of the “roam like home” system. Telecommunication rates differ very much within the European Union. A 10GB plan could cost in one country 50 Euros, in another 10 Euros.
How strict are these rules?
It depends on you operator. Some stricly apply the EU rule, some offer bigger data allowances. And there is this 4 month fair use rule in place. If this rule will be executed on point will show the future…
What if I need more data than my monthly “roam like home” allowance?
If you get over the calculated amout (and/or the 4 month time frame), your operator can ask you to “clarify the situation” within 14 days. If there will be no change in the usage pattern, you can be charged – again – a surcharge (You see: roaming is not really free after June 2017).
Surcharges are (excluding tax):
Maximum €7.7 per GB of data (2018: €6, 2019: €: 4.50, 2020: € 3.50, 2021: € 3, 2022: € 2.50)
Maximum €0.032 per minute of voice call
Maximum €0.01 per SMS
How to calculate the montly data allowance?
You can use the calculator on this website.
It is based on this formular:
contract plans: Net price (of your monthly phone bill) / 7.7 (max. wholesale price) x 2
prepaid plans: Net price (of your remaining credit) / 7.7 (max. wholesale price)
What is this wholesale price?
It is the maximum amount operators are allowed to charge each other for minutes/sms/data
What about calls and texts? Are there also safeguards?
There is no limit on the amout. But – as “roam like home” is not meant to be used as permanent roaming, after spending more than 4 month abroad, operators can charge extra money also for phone calls and texts (€0.032 per min of voice call, €0.01 per SMS)
What about prepaid cards? can i use roam at home as well?
Example: You have EUR 15 remaining credit left = 1,62 GB EU data.
You get the equivalent of €15 (less vat) worth at the wholesale roaming data price cap (12,5 / 7.7 = 1,62 GB).
Note: Montly plans (contracts) get twice the amout (12,5/7,7×2=3,24GB)
These rules apply for everybody travelling the EU?
No. These rules apply only for European customers. If your SIM/phone plan is registered outside the EU, you will have to check with your domestic operator for roaming rates (ie. visitors from US, China, Australia, etc.)
Where do these rules apply?
The “roam like home” service applies to all SIM-cards registered in any European Union country for the usage in any EU country.
Example: SIM-card registered in Germany -> usage in Italy.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein
Does this include calls from home to friends living in the EU?
No, unfortunately this is by definition not roaming.
Information on this website is based on which sources?
Directly form the European Union press articles and websites:
Detailed fact sheet, European Commission, April 2017 [PDF]
General fact sheet European Commission [PDF]
“End of roaming: final hurdle cleared” – European Commission, Press Release April 4 2017
“End of roaming charges for travellers in the EU in 2017”– European Commission, Press Release April 6 2017