back to article Read our lips, no more EU roaming charges*

The European Commission will draw up rules to help mobile network operators set limits on the amount of roaming they will allow their customers to engage in before they can apply charges to the activity, the EU's Council of Ministers has said. The Council has formally approved new EU rules that will generally bring an end to …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    coming soon to a mobile network near you

    Your new T's & C's will include something like this.

    You plan includes a 100Kb Fair Use Data limit for the EU. Usage in excess of this will incur a charge of £1.00/Kb.

    1. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

      Re: coming soon to a mobile network near you

      You mean

      "we may slow your service down to 2.4kbits/sec if you don't want to be charged."

      I think your estimate of £1 million per GB is a little conservative though

    2. Stuart 22

      Re: coming soon to a mobile network near you

      I have a feeling the first folks to object to a wholesale charge of £1/Kb might be the mobile companies themselves. Forking out £100 and not getting a penny from you is not a great business model.

      Looks like the EU has set the mobile companies a self regulating test on charges. Fair usage is the real question and who is going to police it. I can see 1Gb/month as a figure reasonable to people who use wifi to download videos and Linux distributions and don't spend all month abroad. Need 2Gb? Take 2 sims!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: coming soon to a mobile network near you

        Are the wholesale prices anything like £1/KB inside the EU? I doubt it. The retail price people pay is based on what the operators can get away with, in a marketplace which is uncompetitive from the consumer's point of view (i.e. if you want to take your number with you, you are forced to take your existing SIM with you)

        I don't see anyone's business model being broken by this change. Operator A will simply disallow roaming to operator B if operator B's wholesale rates are too high. There are probably other operators in the same country that A can deal with instead. That part potentially *is* competitive.

        In any case, when roaming does take place, it's quite likely that the amount of wholesale revenue generated by B's customers roaming onto A will be around the same as A's customers roaming onto B. So it's all just funny money anyway (unlike what the customers pay, which is real money)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: coming soon to a mobile network near you

      > You plan includes a 100Kb Fair Use Data limit for the EU.

      You think you're kidding, eh?

      Under a change lobbied on by the phone operators, the current "fair use cap" is:

      * 100 MB of data

      * 100 minutes of calling

      PER YEAR

      The rationale: So that customers don't drift towards the operators in the country with the cheapest rates.

      Never mind that there is something called "single market" which sort of is the exact opposite of what this "fair use" attempts to protect (cartels). Never mind either that, let us say Vodafone, while charging UK rates to UK customers, have a big part of their R&D and IT resources in lower cost countries such as the Czech Republic. If it works for them, why not for us customers?

      Now, we can bitch about it on some glorified blog such as this one, or actually do something about it, of which contacting the European Commission and writing to your Member of the European Parliament¹ are two good starts. I have already done the former, and I'm waiting for the EC's reply in order to follow up with the MEPs.

      One thing is certain: They won't listen to you if you don't speak out in the first place.

      ¹ All MEPs represent all Europeans. Get in touch with the ones you think are most likely to be sympathetic to your particular issues--they don't need to be from your own country or even speak your own language. Certain German and Austrian MEPs can be very useful.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So this rule comes in just after the UK could be leaving the EU, great.

    1. eesiginfo

      Could the UK leave the EU?

      There are advantages and disadvantages, associated with club membership.

      This move (advantage) ties in very nicely with the original concept of a common market.

      The problem is that most of the advantages are hidden to vast swathes of the UK voting public.

      Further.... there are no media voices regularly shouting 'specific' reasons why we need to be in the club. Yet voters are regularly subjected to headlines telling them why we should leave it.

      There will be no Daily Mail headline announcing 'Another reason to stay in the EU'.

      Thankfully, it will all come down to fear of change...... It'll be a close run vote, but my money will be on the UK staying in.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Could the UK leave the EU?

        I rather think it will come down to the US president of the day not so quietly reminding our idiot in charge they would prefer we stayed in. With a hint of 'or else'.

      2. Dr Stephen Jones

        Re: Could the UK leave the EU?

        "The problem is that most of the advantages are hidden to vast swathes of the UK voting public."

        Not really. They are in plain view. The advantage of EU membership to the UK is cheap labour, which benefits services industries most, and the middle class. The disadvantages are depressed wages, crowded schools, hospitals etc.

        "there are no media voices regularly shouting 'specific' reasons why we need to be in the club"

        Apart from the BBC, The Guardian, the FT, the CBI, "third sector" groups, you mean?

        1. eesiginfo

          Re: Could the UK leave the EU?

          >Not really. They are in plain view.<

          Of course information is in plain view, if you are prepared to look in that direction.... but even then the media guidance interpretation is typically negative, because negative news makes for a better story, and even more so when it can be formulated in jingoistic terms of 'us and them'.

          Do you really believe that 'immigration' media reporting is balanced?.... that many sections of society see it like you do?

          How many times do you see a 'good news story' relating to EU membership..... and how many times do you see a 'bad news story' relating to EU membership?

          The BBC and The Guardian regurgitate these stories.

          As for the FT and the CBI..... do vast swathes of the UK voting public listen to them?

          However, they will listen, and their voices will gain traction once the debate begins in earnest.

          Hence, as with Scotland, the vote will be in favour of remaining in the community.

          ... and similarly as with Scotland, once it's all decided, we will return to EU bashing once again.

          I guess it's in our tribal (and tabloid) DNA.

          1. Dr Stephen Jones

            Re: Could the UK leave the EU?

            Since the BBC has admitted it got coverage of immigration and Europe wrong, maybe you can too.


            Negative coverage of immigration by dwindling circulation newspapers is generally negative. Coverage by the BBC, which has a statutory obligation to be impartial, and which dominates 70 per cent of news consumption in the UK, is overwhelmingly positive.

            You can look at opinion polls to find what the No.1 issue concerning voters is.

            1. Zmodem

              Re: Could the UK leave the EU?

              there are no voters for a referendum, its pointless even thinking about having a referendum on staying in the EU when you can save 100 billion a year elsewhere over the space of 3 or 4 years, not taking away all the benefits to companies and the general population of being part of europe

              1. Zmodem

                Re: Could the UK leave the EU?

                the coalition government, splashed out on £200 billion worth of different projects all at the same time, they have IT system updates for NHS and police, high speed train link from london to scotland connected to eurotunnel, all the flood defences, BT fibre, etc etc etc, most are suppose to be finished in a few years

      3. Zmodem

        Re: Could the UK leave the EU?

        it will come down to not needing a visa to travel around europe, not needing to pay custom charges, not needing to pay 1990 roaming mobile charges and 1000 other things

        you get nothing if you leave except the prime minister crying about a few billion pound, which would only goto africa anyway

        1. Zmodem

          Re: Could the UK leave the EU?

          save more money when the NHS and police IT has been all updated. i suspect most people can wait another 10 years, before pot holes are fixed around the country

          1. Zmodem

            Re: Could the UK leave the EU?

            as far as africa goes, just invest in 100 of these

            all the un troops can lay down 100Km of water pipe a month and lay the foundations of towns, not camps that rely on a hand pump well

            1. Zmodem

              Re: Could the UK leave the EU?

              the trencor t1360 in action



              top speed 3.2 KPH, and a million dollar price tag or so,

              after a year or two, keeping a few water treatment plants open and active, would probably cost a few million a year instead of billions

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They'll probably find some other way to get the money, network registration fee or such like or what they did recently (Vodafone anyway) and that would be to increase non-geo numbers and get out the contract termination clause by running an average over the last 3 months of billing to confirm that your bill won't increase therefore they are free to rise the prices to whatever they want.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      They're just screw you over on non-EU roaming charges instead.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or to look at it another way

    You could mailorder a mobile sim from another EU countrythat charges less for their service and use the local network (within limits).

    I personally use gifgaf because I do not make many calls and then they are to family only, gifgaf is the only provider who hasnt stolen my money by shutting down my "underused" service.

    Truely I do not have a lot of sympathy for any other mobile provider, if gifgaf can offer unlimited free calls on its network why do they rest charge for the same service, clearly because their punters are stupid enough to pay them.

    1. Buzzword

      Re: You could mai lorder a mobile SIM from another EU country

      Nope, the French and Spanish operators won't post SIMs to the UK. Bad luck if you arrive in France on a Saturday evening: the shops don't re-open until Monday.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'fair use policy'

    the famous gataway clause which makes the whole "no roaming charges", 10-year long (and going strong) EU debacle, utterly pointless.

  6. heyrick Silver badge


    My current contract (Orange France) gives me 3h and 3GB per year overseas. That ought to suffice for going on holiday.

    1. ratfox

      Re: Mmm...

      You're lucky. I pay 2€ for every MB in data roaming. I can get it cheaper by buying 200MB for 100€. Nice, eh?

      1. slightly-pedantic

        Re: Mmm...

        I managed to buy an Orange Spain "Mundo"Sims -€0.01/mb right across Europe &it worked in my Mifi _ highly recommended

  7. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Wholesale rates?

    I don't know for sure what the wholesale rates are... but, T-Mobile US has free, unlimited (but throttled to 128kbps) data roaming overseas (Canada and Mexico are not throttled). This would take 64 seconds to rack up 1MB of data, so I'm quite sure T-Mo is not paying what you are for roaming. They also have things like $50 for 500MB of full-speed data, which is $0.10 a MB -- so they're paying less than that.

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