After 10 years of steadily declining roaming charges across the EU, the end is finally here. Roaming charges are no more in Europe. If you’ve ever wondered what the EU has done for you, here’s your answer: an elimination of those pesky fees that either mean you can’t use your phone abroad without connecting to Wi-Fi, or return with a bill as long as your arm.
The EU has been slashing the cost of using of using phones abroad since 2007 and promising to get rid of roaming fees since 2013. Mobile users across the bloc have eagerly anticipated the plan, which the EU is calling “roam like at home,” and the date for it to come into effect was set in February.
If you don’t already have a holiday arranged, why not book one now to celebrate? We recommend Italy. Think of all the money you’ll save as you Instagram your pizza for free, or at least for the same cost you would pay at home.
But, before you jet off to Venice or Florence or Rome, do be sure to cast your eye over our handy explainer, which is designed to help you fully understand the new rules. There are still ways to get caught out, and we would hate for anything to detract from your gelato fund.
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.
This means sticking religiously to whatever agreement you have with your provider. If you go over your data, calls or texts limit as dictated by your bundle or tariff, you may still be charged roaming fees, and these differ by network. If you think you might exceed your data limit, most networks still offer add-ons that you can use abroad.
You also need to be careful about who you call – it’s not a free-for-all that will allow you to chat gratis with friends spread across the continent. If you have a UK mobile number, calls to British mobiles are free no matter where you are, but if you dial a French number to book a table at a restaurant in Paris you will still be charged for an international call, no matter where you are when you make it.
Here’s where you have to be extra careful. The outlawing of roaming charges affects EU member states and some providers include additional countries in their no-roaming offerings. The best way not to get caught out is, as ever, to check with your network before travelling.