back to article Now you can 'roam like at home' within the EU, but what's the catch?

From today people will be able to spend more time gazing at their phones while on hols rather than looking at the sights as roaming charges in EU countries are abolished. Travellers can now call, text and use their mobile data at no extra cost, regardless of the EU country they're visiting. But there appears to be some …

  1. hplasm
    Meh

    Typical.

    Roaming costs them nothing, but is a cash cow. And now the cow is gone.

    Panic.

    Where's the capitalist Bastard icon?

    1. ARGO

      Re: Typical.

      "Roaming costs them nothing"

      How so? The overseas networks don't provice their service for free any more than your local one does.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Typical.

        A lot of the time they are their own bloody networks.

        1. aks

          Re: Typical.

          Almost, but not quite. Vodafone UK isn't the same company as Vodafone France or Vodafone Germany. Within one country, there are long-term arrangements in place to allow phone-users to connect to any mast, but such arrangements between counties hadn't existed in the past. I assume such agreements have been negotiated and are now in place.

          This isn't an EU thing as different providers have mixtures of countries in their free-roaming offerings.

          Vodafone here is just an example. It could be Telefonica or any other multinational. I happen to use Vodafone as it has a very good Global Roaming offering this year.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Typical.

            Vodaphone UK, France, or Germany are only not the same company for tax dodging scams. They are all the same company with the profits filtering up to the same entity. Likewise for O2, 3 or any other network that has this fake separation.

        2. To Mars in Man Bras!
          Thumb Up

          Thanks EU! Landline Rental Fees Next?

          >>A lot of the time they are their own bloody networks.

          Yes.

          When I'm travelling in the North West of Ireland, my phone regularly receives messages welcoming me to 'O2 Ireland' or 'O2 UK', as the case may be --sometimes several times in the space of a few miles [and not always corresponding to the which side of the 'border' I happen to be on].

          One minute calls are 5p/min and texts free. The next it's 40p/min for calls and 40p to send a text. And I severely doubt O2 have built two parallel infrastructures serving the same area. So a total rip-off.

          Good riddance!

          Now. For its next trick, can the EU do something about getting rid of monthly line rental payments, just for the privilege of having a phone line --even if you don't actually have a landline telephone.

          1. inmypjs Silver badge

            Re: Thanks EU! Landline Rental Fees Next?

            "even if you don't actually have a landline telephone"

            You need a landline to get DSL and it still needs to be paid for. If you also use the landline for chargeable calls you subsidise the cost for DSL. Those that don't ought to be paying more line rental not less.

            Another fucking moron pleading for the EU to do something else stupid.

          2. Kernel

            Re: Thanks EU! Landline Rental Fees Next?

            "And I severely doubt O2 have built two parallel infrastructures serving the same area."

            I would be surprised if they haven't - the two companies are separate legal entities.

            They might (remote possibility) have a tower sharing agreement, but they would still need to provide their own transmitters, backhaul and centralized infrastructure.

            Anyway, if they were exactly the same network why would your phone offer you the choice of a network that it is not its home network at random? The only way this can happen is if terrain changes make the available signal change from time to time, and that won't happen if it's the same network on the same towers.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Typical.

        "How so?"

        Roaming doesn't cost "nothing", fair enough.

        But on the other hand, if two British people in Nantes call each other, do you really think the call goes to the UK and back? Don't be ridiculous.

        So why were we being charged is if it did?

        Various home and mobile data tariffs have already shown that it is simple and effective to video call anybody anywhere in the world as part of the tariff. Your bytes don't cost more going to Japan or New Zealand than ones going to Wales. As such, I agree with another poster - the cash cow has gone. It's been pulped and turned into budget burgers.

        1. Kernel

          Re: Typical.

          "Your bytes don't cost more going to Japan or New Zealand than ones going to Wales. "

          Oh yes they do - submarine cables, the supporting infrastructure and their upkeep are not free, plus there is significant amounts of power being fed down each segment of a cable 24x7 that has to be paid for - much more than is needed fro a UK to Wales system.

      3. Hans 1
        Boffin

        Re: Typical.

        How so? The overseas networks don't provice their service for free any more than your local one does.

        I go there, they come here, costs virtually nothing more ... I have had all inclusive roaming (3G, 30 days/year) in the EU+EFTA for some years now, am on a 16euro/month (SIM-only), unlimited texts/calls/data on 4G/LTE (download rate drops somewhat after 100Gb). Now, I get 25Gb data/month (when roaming in Europe, US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand). Oh, and of course, I can call landlines in ~100 countries + mobiles in US & Canada ...

        If you live in the EU and pay more, you are being ripped off.

        http://mobile.free.fr/

        Click Le forfait sans engagement en détail for details.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Typical.

      Roaming costs them nothing, but is a cash cow. And now the cow is gone.

      Much the same was true in the past for long-distance and international fixed-line calls, they only cost a few percent more than local calls but phone companies charged more for them because they could. It was intuitively believeable that a call to a distant place should cost more than a local one, even if there was no technical reason why it would.

      Now that such cross-subsidy is banned we see the situation where international calls are cheap, but line rental and local call charges are increasing all the time. It's no surprise that the same will happen with this move. Unintended consequences, and all that. The folks who can afford foreign holidays will pay less for their calls, and those that have to stay at home but need a phone will pay more. But the politicians will look good because they have made it "fair".

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "even if there was no technical reason why it would."

        There was a time, the era physical, (wo)man powered or electromechanical switches, when long distance calls had some technical reason to cost more. The issue was they pretended nothing changed when they switched to new technologies that changed that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "even if there was no technical reason why it would."

          There's still reasons why they cost more. Local calls are often initiated on a line by the same company that connects the call at the other end. Therefore the total call cost can be calculated by the one company. National calls are more likely to involve other companies and therefore there is the costs/profit by the initiating company and the receiving company (the termination charge). These however can be subject to national regulation and it is easier to negotiate decent deals.

          International calls may involve three (or more) companies to connect your call (the two nation's network providers and the owner of the international link) with different exchange rates and different big mac indexes. They are more difficult to negotiate with so many providers.

          So they often just look at the most expensive add their high percent profit to it and charge the same for all banded international calls.

          And although a single international call will only be negligibly more than a local call, if 20% of the calls you are terminating originate from other countries that is a 20% increase in bandwidth required to service them, along with billing mechanisms, negotiation teams, accounts staff etc.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: "even if there was no technical reason why it would."

            I guess mobile communications (where it would have been difficult to charge by distance) show that actually since telephone networks went fully digital, and bandwidth increased, there are very little reason to charge by distance or hour of the day (another practice often done). Wholesale international call prices went down quickly, faster than end-user prices.

          2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: "even if there was no technical reason why it would."

            And although a single international call will only be negligibly more than a local call, if 20% of the calls you are terminating originate from other countries that is a 20% increase in bandwidth required to service them, along with billing mechanisms, negotiation teams, accounts staff etc.

            True, but there's a swings&roundabouts situation where outgoing international calls usually balance incoming ones. that's why, in the past, phone companies didn't cross charge. A call from, say, UK to France was charged at an international rate, and BT kept all the money. In the reverse direction the same thing happened, but France Telecom kept the money. It was assumed to balance, and apart from the Greek sexline case in Australia years ago that usually worked. Digital networks changed all that.

            In general the main cost of a call, manual or automatic, is setup and billing. Once the call exists the per-minute cost isn't much different no matter what the distance is, but we still pay per unit time.

      2. aks

        Re: Typical.

        The EU politicians were the ones who reacted because it's very visible to them and their families as they trot around between their home country, Brussels, Strasbourg and other places of jollification.

    3. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Typical.

      Good by cow, and while it's probably inevitable that, "It therefore seems likely that operators will hike their fees in some other way to offset this loss.", on those "cost hikes" they have to compete for us as their customers. The roaming income was more or less free money.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: Typical.

        There has been a change. It is not simple to many (most) customers. We have an excuse. Make like the seven dwarves:

        "Hike Ho, Hike Ho, its off to bonus we go."

  2. LDS Silver badge

    I would suggest telco to save cutting ads, especially the expensive TV ones.

    I guess they cost a lot (especially when they hire an expired star like Bruce Willis), are broadcasted a lot - and are among the uglier ones, and I guess have very little return.

    Anyway, Vodafone here has started weeks ago to find ways to charge customers more, especially those who use the phone very little, like my old parents.

    It's funny how companies like no borders for their business (and taxes) - as long as they can enforce their own borders to earn more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I would suggest telco to save cutting ads, especially the expensive TV ones.

      The less we see of Kevin Bacon in that red leather number, the better.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: I would suggest telco to save cutting ads, especially the expensive TV ones.

        "The less we see of Kevin Bacon in that red leather number, the better."

        Yes, less Kevin in leather, more of Britney

    2. DJO Silver badge

      Re: I would suggest telco to save cutting ads, especially the expensive TV ones.

      Virgin are the worst, I'm not a customer, I've never been a customer, I'm never likely to become a customer but every week I get at least 2 letters from them extolling their wonderful service, letters that must cost them about £50 a year for the materials, postage and handling, letters that go unopened straight into the bin.

      I'm just one person but extrapolate that across the country and beardy must be wasting millions a year in futile mailings.

      1. TheProf
        Thumb Up

        Re: I would suggest telco to save cutting ads, especially the expensive TV ones.

        Virgin are the worst

        I used to get 2 large envelopes from Virgin every month until I decided to read the small print on one of the leaflets. Buried in all the bumpf is information on how to stop the mailings. Sorry, I can't remember the details but it is in there. I think you need to go to a web page, select your address (it's fine, they already know your address!) and within a few weeks no more recyclable waste paper.

      2. cambsukguy

        Re: I would suggest telco to save cutting ads, especially the expensive TV ones.

        Richard Branson's company (Virgin) hasn't owned Virgin Media for some time now, it is owned by Liberty Media.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I would suggest telco to save cutting ads, especially the expensive TV ones.

          Not sure Branson ever owned Virgin Media ... I think originally he may have had something like a 10% stake in return for the righs to the "Virgin" name.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I would suggest telco to save cutting ads, especially the expensive TV ones.

        my recommendation to get rid of their junk mail: become their customer! ;)

        I mean, while I dutifully posted back each of those letters to them for about 3 years, at their own expense, allegedly (unless the postmen just bin them en route), I did join their happy club (not because of junk, but because of a need) and now... I don't think I've ever got anything through the post since (over 1,5 years), which is peculiar, because they might think that junk + new customer = more junk (to upsell). No so, really strange (not that I miss it!)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I would suggest telco to save cutting ads, especially the expensive TV ones.

      I guess they cost a lot (especially when they hire an expired star like Bruce Willis)

      What!??! Bruce Willis is dead? And they still hired him?

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Facepalm

        "What!??! Bruce Willis is dead? And they still hired him?"

        Look at the spots (i.e. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8I9sst44Kc) and you wished he had died before they could hire him...

  3. Fat_Tony

    £1/min - old school!

    My first payg mobile phone (late 90's) cost a £1/min to make calls and 20p/min to receive calls. Much the same as roaming, prices back then were all about gouging customers as much as possible.

    Suppose nowadays whatapp and the like mean there's some alternatives assuming you can find some wifi

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    tourists virtually touring

    > while on hols rather than looking at the sights

    Meh! all the sights are freely available for viewing on the internet. Maybe that is what the holidaymakers are looking at?

    Or could they be scoping out next year's holiday, instead? 'tis better to travel in hope than to arrive.

  5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Brexit

    Non EU countries like Norway and Switzerland are already included in this new roaming setup, and Vodafone have already said it would be commercially very foolish to exclude the UK post-Brexit, so why not wait until some facts appear before getting one's knickers all in a twist?

    I'd say that for most people data charges when roaming are much more of an issue, I doubt if many non-business people spend that much time on the phone when abroad on holiday, but they probably do keep up with email, farsebook etc. Technically speaking that should be an easier problem to solve since there's no need to track the phone number, nor to handle inbound conections, you just want to use the data capacity of whatever network you're on. There's even less reason to charge more than a nominal fee for data roaming than for call roaming.

    1. Vulch

      Re: Brexit

      Switzerland aren't included in this. The new regulations cover the EEA, which is the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, but not the EFTA. There's still no regulation of charges calling to other EU/EEA countries when you're at home.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Brexit

        Yes, you're right about Switzerland, thanks for the correction. There's also no regulation about calling the country you're in. If you roam to Germany and call a German number (say to book a restaurant) you'll still be billed for an international call from your home country, and if they call you back they'll pay international charges.

        1. DanboMB

          Re: Brexit

          Erm no.. Not quite true.

          While roaming in the EU, ANY EU call you make (like in Spain to Germany) is taken from your allowances (or billed as a normal call - like at home - if you have no allowances).

          https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/faq/frequently-asked-questions-roam-home

          No. When you are roaming in the EU, all calls to mobile and fixed numbers in the EU will be counted against your national volume of minutes (or will be unlimited if you have unlimited calls at home), exactly as if you were calling within your home country. If you have distinct so-called ‘on-net’ and ‘off-net’ volumes in your national bundle, all the roaming minutes may be all deducted from the off-net volume, and also when you call another subscriber of the same domestic operator while roaming.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Brexit

            When you are roaming in the EU, all calls to mobile and fixed numbers in the EU will be counted against your national volume of minutes (or will be unlimited if you have unlimited calls at home), exactly as if you were calling within your home country.

            That is not the case. With the new rules you will treated as if you are "at home" no matter what country you are in. Take a UK mobile to France and call a UK number, it'll be treated as a domestic call. Call a German number and it will be treated as a UK-Germany international call. What you pay for that will depend on what your contract says about making international calls, but it is specifically not covered by the new rules. The FAQ you pointed to is clear "The prices of calls from home to a foreign country, including in the EU, are not regulated."

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Brexit

              Re: "When you are roaming in the EU ...

              With the new rules you will treated as if you are "at home" no matter what country you are in."

              I think part of the issue and thus why people are getting confused is their understanding of just what "like at home" means. Specifically understanding that whatever plan and add-ons you have will apply whilst you are in another EU/EEA country, thus if you happen to be in Germany say, then the charges you will incur will be exactly the same as if you were using your phone "at-home".

              The only difference seems to be with data, where an operator can set a fair usage cap (subject to EU specified constraints) - just as they do with tethering.

        2. rtfazeberdee

          Re: Brexit

          "If you roam to Germany and call a German number" - do you mean if you call Germany from the UK? If you do then I think that is just an international call, if you are still at home, you are not roaming. My understanding of roaming is that you are not in your home country and you are using your UK phone in another country. Anyone who thinks they can "roam" from home is off their trolley.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Brexit

            No its if you have a UK phone and while in Germany you call a German number then the directive means calls are charged as if you are at home so your call is charged as an international call from the UK to Germanny

          2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Brexit

            "If you roam to Germany and call a German number" - do you mean if you call Germany from the UK?

            With the new rules you will always be treated as if you're at home, no matter what EEA country you are in. If you travel to Germany with your UK phone and call a Gerrman number it will be treated as a home (UK) to Germany international call. Basically, whether you are in your home country, or another EEA country, you'll always be treated as if you're at home. 'Roaming' now does not exist within the EEA any more. International calls are still counted as international calls.

            1. Peter Rathlev
              Alert

              Re: Brexit

              There seems to be some misunderstanding here. A call from a UK phone to a german number when in Germany is not treated as an international call with the new rules. To quote the FAQ:

              [quote] For example: If you have a Belgian card and you travel to France and call either a hotel in France, back home to Belgium, or to any other country in the EU and the EEA, you are roaming (refer to legal text on the regulation on roaming) , and you will pay Belgian internal domestic prices (refer to legal text). [/quote]

              https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/faq/frequently-asked-questions-roam-home#266

              So as long as you are not at home and you call a number within the EU/EAA your usage counts as plain domestic with no extra charges. This may sound like something that could be abused but the FAQ mentions various other rules that mitigate this.

              (Disclaimer: I haven't actually read the rules, just the FAQ.)

              1. Peter Rathlev
                Meh

                Re: Brexit

                (Continued regarding e.g. calling a german number from Germany with a UK phone)

                Yeah, so I actually sat down and read the legal text. And I can't really find anything about this specific scenario so I may be wrong about it not counting as an international call.

                The Independent seems convinced that international rates apply:

                http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/europe-mobile-roaming-charges-abolished-eu-data-spain-turkey-cruise-switzerland-a7788996.html

                But providers here (Denmark) explicitely state that calls made from any EU/EEA country (except Denmark) to any other EU/EEA country (including Denmark) count as local danish calls, not as International calls. Only calls made from Denmark to another country count as international calls. Maybe that's just how the chose to implement it?

                We should have a journalist check this out somehow...

                1. Danny 14

                  Re: Brexit

                  Vodaphone roaming charges tool says spain to spain calls are both roam free and out of allowance. Seems not all operators will gouge an international call for intra country calling in EU.

      2. CH in CT20

        Re: Brexit

        As of today ee customers can take their UK allowances to:

        Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Canary Islands, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guyana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Islands, Romania, San Marino, Saint Martin (French), Saint Barthelemy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City (Italy).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Brexit

          Brexit means Brexit.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Brexit

            Brexit is huh? apparently.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Brexit

      Re: "I'd say that for most people data charges when roaming are much more of an issue"

      The use of data is also covered in the "Roam-like-at-home", although your operator can specify a cap - just as many specify a tethering usage cap.

      See https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/faq/frequently-asked-questions-roam-home for details.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Typical: the EU showing muscles, where you DON'T need them

    ""So the prices of other services could go up to offset the revenue loss. Previously when charges decreased each year, operators put the price of non-EU countries up.""

    You can bet your horses that it will. And not just in non-EU countries either, the EU has generally speaking never really been much interested at all in the aftermath of whatever horrible idea they're launching.

    This will effectively result in prizes going up so that every customer gets to pay in order to compensate for this. Just take a look at history to see proof of that. Because we've been here before. In 2013 the EU applied a cap on roaming charges and guess what happened next?

    So now we get to a point where even if a customer is hardly (or not!) using his gear across the border they still get to help pay for the roaming costs.

    How exactly can you call this fair?

    But that's not what those narrow minded politicians will see, all they can look at are these "awesome" rules they're setting up which "protects the consumers" while in the end all it does is make us pay even more than we did before.

    Thank you EU for making our lives more expensive than they already were, as you always seem to do.

    In the mean time the question of when the EU citizens can enjoy 1 tax system or 1 unified prize for petrol or even the right to buy (good) products which are sold in 1 country but not in the other is something which has never been discussed so far. Way to go!

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Typical: the EU showing muscles, where you DON'T need them

      the question of when the EU citizens can enjoy 1 tax system or 1 unified prize for petrol or even the right to buy (good) products which are sold in 1 country but not in the other is something which has never been discussed so far.

      Oh. but that's too hard, they'll never get 28 countries to agree on something like that, which is why they only go for the easy, pointless stuff that makes good soundbites. They are politicians after all, wouldn't know a hard day's work if it bit them in the arse.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typical: the EU showing muscles, where you DON'T need them

      "[...] or 1 unified prize for petrol [...]"

      On the N4 in Martelange on the Belgium-Luxembourg border there is a hill. On the Luxembourg side there is a series of adjacent fuel stations - possibly as many as eight - representing just about every company. Presumably they are selling fuel at the lower Luxembourg prices.

      You can see some of them here - a couple more are down the hill "behind" you.

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: Typical: the EU showing muscles, where you DON'T need them

        Almost the first thing you see when driving into Andorra is a Fuel station with long lines of cars getting filled up at much reduced prices.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Typical: the EU showing muscles, where you DON'T need them

      Unifying the tax system (and end-user petrol price depends mostly on that) is a fairly long term goal very difficult to achieve in states with very different populations and economies (i.e. would you like to pay for the Italian debt?) - it requires a level of integration it will take many years to achieve.

      Removing barriers like roaming is a step in that direction. After all many companies reaped the benefits of the common market, and moving revenues easily to low-tax states like Ireland and Luxembourg made them very happy. Time they given something back, too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Typical: the EU showing muscles, where you DON'T need them

        it requires a level of integration .i̶t̶ ̶w̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶t̶a̶k̶e̶ ̶m̶a̶n̶y̶ ̶y̶e̶a̶r̶s̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶a̶c̶h̶i̶e̶v̶e̶.̶ that will never be achieved.

        FTFY.

    4. SkippyBing

      Re: Typical: the EU showing muscles, where you DON'T need them

      'So now we get to a point where even if a customer is hardly (or not!) using his gear across the border they still get to help pay for the roaming costs.'

      I'm sure it's irrelevant that EU politicians are likely to be amongst the most prolific roamers...

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Typical: the EU showing muscles, where you DON'T need them

        My phone bill has always been abou 10 quid for as long as i remember. I always get more for my 10 quid each year too. Now i get my data allowance in the eu for free.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    High HIDDEN COST for calls INSIDE a roaming country

    As pointed out above by Phil O'Sophical - but it needs more prominence.

    There is a real hidden cost if you call numbers INSIDE the country in which you are roaming.

    "There's also no regulation about calling the country you're in. If you roam to Germany and call a German number (say to book a restaurant) you'll still be billed for an international call from your home country, and if they call you back they'll pay international charges."

    1. DanboMB

      Re: High HIDDEN COST for calls INSIDE a roaming country

      No... Not true.

      https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/faq/frequently-asked-questions-roam-home

      No. When you are roaming in the EU, all calls to mobile and fixed numbers in the EU will be counted against your national volume of minutes (or will be unlimited if you have unlimited calls at home), exactly as if you were calling within your home country. If you have distinct so-called ‘on-net’ and ‘off-net’ volumes in your national bundle, all the roaming minutes may be all deducted from the off-net volume, and also when you call another subscriber of the same domestic operator while roaming.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: High HIDDEN COST for calls INSIDE a roaming country

        I think the key point will be that most operators have constructed their bundles so that the bundled minuts only apply to calls to UK 01/02/03 numbers .... so when roaming calls to those number still apply to the bundle, however any other calls (e.g. to nuumbers in the EU coutnry where you are roaming) are still charged at the same out-of-bundle rate as they would be in the UK - these charges are now capped by the EU but I think this just resulted in many operators moving thei standard out-of-bundle charges up to this level.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: High HIDDEN COST for calls INSIDE a roaming country

        https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/faq/frequently-asked-questions-roam-home

        "Roam Like at Home" See question 4:

        Do my new rights also cover the calls I make from home to friends abroad?

        No. Calling from home is not roaming. The new rights cover communications (calls, SMS, data) made when roaming in the EU, which means when travelling abroad in the EU. The prices of calls from home to a foreign country, including in the EU, are not regulated.

        (My emphasis)

        Any calls you make when roaming will be treated as calls from home. Check with your provider if you don't believe us.

        1. David Nash Silver badge

          Re: High HIDDEN COST for calls INSIDE a roaming country

          "Do my new rights also cover the calls I make from home to friends abroad?

          No. Calling from home is not roaming. The new rights cover communications (calls, SMS, data) made when roaming in the EU, which means when travelling abroad in the EU. The prices of calls from home to a foreign country, including in the EU, are not regulated."

          But this was not the question. The question, which does not seem to be addressed in the linked FAQ, is what happens to calls TO (eg.) Germany, when you are physically IN (roaming) Germany.

          The assumption seems to be that they will be treated as international calls since they are "like home", where "home" in this case is not Germany.

          So unless your home bundled calls include international calls at no extra charge, calling Germany from a UK-homed-mobile when you are in Germany will now cost more than calling the UK from the same mobile when you are in Germany.

          Which some people may not appreciate.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: High HIDDEN COST for calls INSIDE a roaming country

            The assumption seems to be that they will be treated as international calls since they are "like home", where "home" in this case is not Germany.

            It's not an assumtpion, it's stated fact from the phone companies.

        2. DanboMB

          Re: High HIDDEN COST for calls INSIDE a roaming country

          I checked with my provider. I'm with Three UK, Meteor Ireland and Vodafone Ireland.

          What exactly are you arguing here? Roaming EU to EU calls are out of your allowance (free) or at home rates (like calling a UK number whilst in the UK)....

          https://www.threemicrosites.co.uk/euregulation

          Pay As You Go roaming within the below European destinations will be at our great 3-2-1 rates – that’s 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB. What’s more, you’ll not only be able to use these rates to call and text back to the UK but also to call and text local numbers within these European destinations. You’ll also be able to create a personal hotspot to tether for just 1p/MB. Simple.

          https://n.vodafone.ie/support/mobile/travelling-abroad.html#eu-roaming.html

          What is included when I travel in Europe?

          Intra Europe Calls (E.g. in Spain calling France) - Home Allowance of calls and texts to any network

          http://www.boards.ie/ttfpost/103792503

          http://www.boards.ie/ttfpost/103802001

        3. Hans 1
          Happy

          Re: High HIDDEN COST for calls INSIDE a roaming country

          Check with your provider if you don't believe us.

          I have, see above ;-). I get unlimited landlines, mobiles in Europe from home and while roaming ... 100Gb data/month at home, 25GB abroad.... you name it ... it's included ... if you pay more than me, you are being ripped off.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: High HIDDEN COST for calls INSIDE a roaming country

      And how is it worse than the previous situation?

    3. aks

      Re: High HIDDEN COST for calls INSIDE a roaming country

      It certainly not true with Vodafone's UK service. They treat it as one big marketplace and include many countries outside of the EU. I live in the Channel Islands and use my 16GB of data and unlimited calls or texts. My only complaint is that they charge me VAT, which we don't have.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    at no extra cost

    indeed, nothing extra. Only when I went to the US where some UK operators have the same arrangement, it would cost me about £1.30 per minute to call the guy standing next to me, and only a couple of pence, to call my dear wife. Not that I prefer guys next to me to my wife, regardless of the price, she always comes first (hello dear!), but sometimes you do need to call locally when abroad, and then you're fu(...)ed. At least, when I'm in the UK, I can dial through some of those cheap operators for calling international numbers. But when I tried to dial their numbers while roaming in the US, it never worked. Consequently, not a single penny spent, hurrah!

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Consolidation is driving price hikes

    Roaming was always a nice additional little earner at virtually no cost. When the European Commission first investigated the telcos and found them complicit of charging users way over the odds for the service the first suggestion was to do away with roaming completely. Thanks to successful lobbying by the telcos of national governments, who like the taxes from large profits, the capping and subsequent tapering of charges over nearly 15 years was agreed.

    This gave telcos more than enough time to prepare for the change. For most telcos in most countries, however, roaming makes little difference to the bottom line; exceptions being perhaps Spain and Greece where so many other Europeans go for their jollies. The loss of revenue due to people switching to data services for SMS and VoIP was far more significant. And as the market matured, data too became a commodity. The response of the telcos has been the tried and tested approach in low growth markets: buy up competitors to reduce competition. As a result most countries now have at most 3 networks where they used to have 4 or 5. There was research done in Austria on the effect this has on prices: they go up, unsurprisingly.

    So, while the telcos might point at the end of roaming charges at the reason for increasing all prices, there is less reason for this then raising petrol prices the day the price of oil goes up (the two are only indirectly related), or at the start of the holidays. Companies lying about their cost base or asking for handouts. Who'd have thought it?

  10. Dr_N Silver badge

    Nothing New

    Have been able to subscribe to contracts with unlimited voice/sms/mms and dozens of Gb of data are metered the same (i.e. "free") whilst roaming in Europe, the US and even China, for years now. (In France.)

    The reason for these offers? Competition and the networks knowing this was coming.

  11. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    Trying to add to the confusion

    Trying to add to this, partly hard to understand, confusion regarding who is, or is not, roaming, is it you, is it your phone, is it your contract, your provider, the small text, the country, the EU or Who.

    Why do some funny people go for dual sim phones and when and under what conditions could that be sort of a smart solution.

  12. inmypjs Silver badge

    "Eliminating roaming...

    charges is one of the greatest and most tangible successes of the EU"

    From http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-17-1590_en.htm

    and we have only being paying net £170 million a week for success like this, what a bargain, how could we possibly think of leaving?

  13. M7S
    Joke

    "Customers holidaying in tax havens...... will be charged £1 per minute "

    Damn, that offsets the entire saving I make everytime I visit to deposit envelopes of cash

    1. aks

      Re: "Customers holidaying in tax havens...... will be charged £1 per minute "

      Not if the said tax havens (low tax jurisdictions) are included in the provider's bundle of countries.

      Vodafone include the Channel Islands in theirs.

  14. pleb

    Confused?

    Lotta confusion here!

    If you are roaming within the EU then all calls ANYWHERE within the EU (yes, including the country you are now visiting, and all the others) are inclusive within your allowance (i.e. 'free' unless you go over your allowance). Ditto for texts. So, for the avoidance of doubt, a Brit with a UK SIM, travelling to France can phone for a local French taxi, can phone a German hotel, and call his mates back in the UK, all using his inclusive minutes.

    So the situation whilst roaming is more favourable than at home. Whilst roaming you can phone pan-EU at no extra cost, whereas whilst on home turf calling across EU borders costs as an international call.

    I can understand the confusion arises from the phrase "like at home" which implies the model is that you travel within a "bubble" of your home country. Not so.

  15. Tromos
    Joke

    The old sayings are the best...

    Roam wasn't billed in a day.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vodafone: No warning, credit just vanishes!

    * Has anyone else run up against this? - No text warning or anything, credit just vanishes! The cause is apparently Vodafone 'RED Roaming' randomly charging 4.99 EUR...

    * The catch is you can't email Vodafone anymore. So if you're overseas you're caught in a trap. You can contact 'Live Chat' (outsourced to Boldchat), but they refuse to do anything, saying you must file for a call-back, which of course eats your remaining credit being overseas.

    * Eventually I wrote to the Regulator and got a case number, which I then sent to Vodafone 'Live Chat' aka Boldchat. What do you know? Amazingly they managed to refund 20 Euro soon after that. Lying F*ckers!

  17. Barry Mahon

    Couple of things -

    1. Don't bother quoting gross revenue of telcos, it means very little.

    2. Like the airlines, telcos use a statistical algorithm to analyse quid pro quo revenues. The clearing methodology is designed to balance out ins and outs. Overall, apart from some anomalies identified from time to time, no money is exchanged between companies.

    So....

    It has been obvious for some time that telco revenues are tending towards a cost+ model. where the + has been reducing. The free loaders offering service based on renting space on someone elses network will be first to go. Already there is consolidation.

    The important thing is that the EU or someone keeps n eye on monopoly creation. Under present arrangements Vodafone et al can create separate organisation to offer service in different countries, but there are moves to create "supra country" entities, which allows for fudged monopolies.

  18. David Roberts
    Paris Hilton

    Still confusing?

    It is looking as though anyone who travels within the EU still needs two SIMs.

    One for your home country to roam at will in the rest of the EU, and one from any other EU country to call cross border at local rates when you are at home.

    I assume the original aim was for all calls within the EU to be charged as national calls.

    So for example if you flit between France and Belgium you will still need two SIMs, you just change which calls you make with which SIM.

    ISTR that there are supposed to be measures which govern how long you can roam with a SIM to try and prevent this cost optimisation.

    1. nowster

      Re: Still confusing?

      Have just checked a couple of the UK operators' small print. EE and O2 both count EU to EU calls whilst roamed as coming out of the minutes allowance on pay monthly contracts.

  19. fairwinds

    Absurd Roaming

    I went to Capetown (SA) for a week. My phone rings and it's one of those "Yes, I did detect the international roaming ring-tone, but I'm important so I want to talk about my trivial problem" muppets. I ignored the call, and about 5 minutes later, the Voicemail thing pings. I leave the long, drawn-out VM message until I get back home.

    I get back to find I have 5 minutes of "roaming call-received" minutes, and 5 minutes of "international phone call minutes", both at exhorbitant prices.

    Does anyone believe the voice traffic actually went to South Africa and back? No, me neither. That little bit of pseudo-extortion cost Vodafone a customer.

  20. Adam Conway

    What does this really mean?

    So, my operator (in Finland) says "subscriptions will include an EU day package feature, which allows you to talk and surf in EU countries at a day charge (€2.90/day)"[1]. But the calls and data are included (no extra charge) for Scandinavian and Baltic countries. Also says "We will launch new EU subscriptions with a monthly charge that allow you to use your phone in Europe in the same way as in Finland" And this was June 14 so presumably to comply with the new rules.

    I thought the whole point was they couldn't do this any more? From the original article "Travellers can now call, text and use their mobile data at no extra cost, regardless of the EU country they're visiting."

    Was the Reg article misleading (surely not!) or is my operator pulling a fast one? Any chance of an article that explains exactly what they are allowed to charge extra for now?

    References:

    [1] http://pages.telia.fi/europe-roaming.html

    [2] https://www.telia.fi/yrityksille/english/mobile-subscription-updates

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: What does this really mean?

      Agree it does seem that Telia Finland either hasn't understood the new EU regulations or is trying to pull a fast one.

      I note that although Norway is an EEA/EFTA member, Telia Norway (https://telia.no/roam-like-home ) is claiming to have implemented the new regulation:

      "Vi har fjernet roamingkostnadene i EU og EØS. Det betyr at du kan surfe, tekste og ringe akkurat som hjemme når du er i Roma, Paris eller London. Og alle andre steder der Roam Like Home gjelder."

      [google Translate:

      "We have removed roaming costs in the EU and the EEA. That means you can surf, text and call just like home when in Rome, Paris or London. And everywhere else Roam Like Home applies."]

      Similar provisions seems to apply to:

      Telia Denmark (https://www.telia.dk/privat/underholdning/roamlikehome/roam-like-home-europa/ )

      Telia Sweden (https://www.telia.se/privat/aktuellt/surfasomhemma )

      Both of which are like Finland within the EU.

      I suggest you submit a contact request to Telia Finland asking for clarification, before you have to contest a charge and involve the national telecoms regulator...

      1. Adam Conway

        Re: What does this really mean?

        I've sent them a question, will see what they say

        1. Adam Conway
          Unhappy

          Re: What does this really mean?

          Answer from Telia:

          -----

          We wanted to offer to our corporate customers both options: subscriptions with EU usage included in the monthly subscriptions package fee (these new EU-packages) and packages with old pricing, which has this EU-daily package so that we won't have to increase prices for our customers who uses their subscriptions only rarely outside Nordic and Baltic area. It is also possible to choose not to use EU-package and pay only for the usage. We have permission for this solution from Finnish Viestintävirasto.

          I checked your subscriptions, and it seems that all of you have this EU-package in use. The benefit from this new EU regulation was for you, that the price of the EU-package decreased from 5€ to 2,90€ and the amount of data usage which is included rose from 300Mt to 500Mt. If you travel more outside Nordic and Baltic area, I recommend you to change your package to EU-package.

          -----

          In other words "we've got permission to ignore the whole concept behind these rules because we found a way round"

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