Abolition of roaming charges in EU will not lower costs unless more is done

June 16, 2017 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Telecom consultancy experts at A&B Groep have concluded that the abolition of roaming charges within the EU does not automatically lead to lower calling charges or reduced expenses for companies, and in some cases might even be more expensive.

A&B Groep finds that costs for out-of-bundle calls have increased, new subscriptions are more expensive and companies are charged higher fees due to complex contracts. Moreover, roaming charges are still applied in other European countries. Calling from Switzerland, for example, has even become more expensive than before.

The EU has put an end to the high fees charged by mobile providers for voice, SMS and internet use abroad, also known as roaming, enabling people abroad can use their standard bundle to call and use the internet from abroad.

However, as roaming charges were being dropped within the European Union, the next steps were already being discussed at the Digital Assembly 2017, where Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions, stressed that EU citizens in all regions and cities must be able to seize the benefits of the digital revolution at the event organised by the European Commission and the Maltese Presidency of the EU Council, in Valletta.

President Markkula had this to say: "For European citizens, the end of roaming charges is the most concrete and visible example of the advantages of the Digital Single Market. The new rules specifically benefit those who are travelling, people living in border regions and the estimated 1.7 million cross-border workers in the EU. As of today, they will no longer have to worry about extra charges when their mobile phone switches to another country's network"

However he also warned that: "In most cases people will still have to pay a surcharge when calling abroad from their country of residence. There is still work to be done when it comes to uniform prices for national and international calls within the EU."

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