Mobile phone users in Europe will soon be free to use their regular call, text and internet allowances anywhere within the EU at no extra cost under new rules which abolish data roaming charges across the union.
As of Thursday June 15, all mobile network operators in Europe will be prohibited from charging additional fees for overseas use within the EU as part of continued efforts by the EU to forge a Digital Single Market across EU member states. It is free to use your phone in European countries as if you were at home. You will still pay your normal monthly or pay as you go bill, but you won't be charged extra for using your minutes, texts and data when you're on holiday.
The rules, which seek to replicate the EU's tariff-free single market for trade, will allow customers to "roam like at home" and should prevent hidden costs when users return home from holiday, according to the European Commission, which first announced the plans in June 2015.
All 28 EU member states are subject to the ban. This currently includes the U.K., though its position may be negotiated once it leaves the EU. Not being a member of either the EU or EEA, Switzerland is not a part of the new agreement.
Those with Swiss plans are stuck paying roaming charges. Equally, EU phone users in Switzerland will still be subject to roaming charges when they are in Switzerland. Despite that, some foreign mobile phone companies are extending their roaming-free zone to Switzerland, as Vodafone that treata Switzerland as part of the EU for roaming purposes.
Getting a phone on an EU contract while living in Switzerland for use when you’re in the EU is not without risks. The new “roam like at home” rules come with a fair use policy.
Some providers include additional countries in their no-roaming offerings. Turkey, a non-EU member, currently only includes Vodafone in its roaming bundle. By far the most generous network in this respect though is Three, which doesn't charge roaming fees in a wide range of countries outside of Europe, including the US, Australia and Hong Kong.
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