EU Member States Agree to Extend Free Mobile Roaming Policy Until 2032

So-called mobile phone "roaming" will remain free within the European Union for another decade, the European Commission has confirmed.

European Commisssion
The governing body said that a political agreement had been reached between the member states and the European Parliament to extend the practice until 2032.

In a press release announcing the agreement to extend the free roaming policy, the European Commission said:

Citizens will be able to call, text and use mobile data while travelling within the EU at no extra costs and with the same quality they experience at home; they will have improved access to emergency communications regardless of where they are in Europe; and, they will have the right to clear information when a service they use while roaming might cause inadvertent extra charges. The regulation will enter into force on July 1st 2022.

Prior to 2017, when roaming charges were abolished in the EU, holidaymakers and business travelers across Europe would often be stung by excessive phone bills when they got home, with network operators charging exorbitant fees for calls, text, and data used abroad.

Years of campaigning saw the practice scrapped in the EU, meaning mobile customers generally no longer have to worry about roaming charges when using their phone in the EU, with most phone tariffs counting calls, texts, and data used in EU countries as equivalent to domestic use.

Commenting on the latest agreement to extend the practice, commissioner for the internal market Thierry Breton said: "Spending holidays in Greece, Austria or Bulgaria, visiting customers or suppliers in Italy or Estonia… traveling abroad without having to worry about phone bills is a tangible part of the EU Single Market experience for all Europeans."

Given that the United Kingdom has formally exited the European Union, UK residents won't be able to enjoy the benefits of free roaming when they use their phones abroad.

Indeed, when the EU trade deal was signed in December 2020, mobile operators were once again able to charge customers when traveling in Europe with "transparent and reasonable rates."

Originally, EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone, representing the largest mobile operators in the UK, stated they had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges after Brexit, but all have since announced changes, some under a "fair use" clause.

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Top Rated Comments

LV426 Avatar
34 months ago
Brexit. The gift that just keeps giving.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KrisLord Avatar
34 months ago
Jealous of all our EU friends getting free roaming #UK
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Quu Avatar
34 months ago

Indeed, when the EU trade deal was signed in December 2020, mobile operators were once again able to charge customers when traveling in Europe with "transparent and reasonable rates."

Originally, EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone, representing the largest mobile operators in the UK, stated they had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges after Brexit, but all ('https://www.macrumors.com/2021/09/09/three-brings-back-eu-roaming-charges/') have since announced changes, some under a "fair use" clause.
For some perspective of how this was portrayed in the UK.

During the transition period (after the vote already happened to leave) when we (the UK) were negotiating our exit from the EU some said we wouldn't lose this roaming benefit.

And of course we have done so. And you can pretty much put on probably 100 other things people said we wouldn't lose, the beneficial aspects of being a EU member that we have lost. I'm yet to see any benefits to leaving to be honest with you.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Havalo Avatar
34 months ago
Shocker! No one in the UK saw this coming.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rikscha Avatar
34 months ago

I’ve also had a good experience with a local eSIM that I quickly loaded on my phone.

A SIM doesn‘t cost more than a few quid for the holidays or business travel.
EU membership may arguably cost more for most people.
How did the membership cost anyone more - please enlighten us while we have reached divorce costs of
£80bn so far and counting and projected loss of economic growth of 5-10% over the next decade.

Back to sim card hunting great! So convenient…
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LV426 Avatar
34 months ago

I’ve also had a good experience with a local eSIM that I quickly loaded on my phone.

A SIM doesn‘t cost more than a few quid for the holidays or business travel.
EU membership may arguably cost more for most people.
That argument was lost a long long time ago. I don't want to get into this here, because it is entirely political, but even the rightwing press are no longer ignoring the massive downside it's had on the UK economy.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)