Happy Days! – Mobile Roaming Charges Cut By Up To 75%

Today brings some good news for European travellers and especially motorhome nomads who want to keep in touch with family and friends in the UK.

We can all remember the fear of having to lift your mobile phone abroad to make (or even receive) a call or text with sky high controversial mobile roaming charges.

Living in Northern Ireland, this often happened accidentally as when you travelled to the north coast or areas near the border, your phone locked into Eircell if your mobile was set to its auto network selection feature, leading to large unexpected mobile phone bills without even having left the UK!

eu roaming charges
EU mobile roaming charges slashed from today and scrapped completely by June 2017

But from today roaming charges are to be slashed under EU legislation capping them to €0.05 cents per minute above your domestic tariff for making calls, and only €0.01 cent per minute above your home tariff for receiving calls. (Vodafone, Tesco and O2 have already scrapped the charge for receiving calls)

And if you like to stay online while abroad, then you will only pay your network provider’s data charges plus €0.05 cents per MB of data. This cost has tumbled by almost 93% from 56p in 2012

Even better is to come as by 15 June 2017 all mobile roaming charges within the EU are to be abolished completely. You will then be able to use your monthly calling allowances as if you were still at home.


Some Networks Are Already Free

In anticipation of the ongoing EU legislative changes (and no doubt to steal a lead on their competitors), some UK network providers are already providing zero roaming charges in Europe and beyond.

Three launched their Feel At Home service in 2013. This lets you use your mobile phone in 18 worldwide countries (including the USA, Australia and most of Europe) for the same price as using your mobile phone at home.

Customers of EE’s Extra and Complete service plans also allow free calls and texts in its Europe Zone (which includes Switzerland and other non-EU countries ).

Carphone Warehouse owned iD network is also worth considering for frequent travellers looking to avoid roaming charges before 2017. Its TakeAway tariffs include free roaming in 29 countries including the whole of the EU, the US and Australia. Plans start at £12.50 a month for a sim-only 12-month contract.

Tesco Mobile will be scrapping mobile roaming charges in 31 countries (calls costing the same as it is in the UK) from May 23 to September 3 which covers the main tourist season.

Taking Care

Whilst these roaming costs are tumbling, it should be kept in mind that this will only be guaranteed in EU member states.

If you are travelling to countries like Morocco or Turkey these caps will not apply and you should research the best deal for roaming and data charges in these countries.

Visitors to Turkey this summer will typically pay £1.20-£1.50 a minute to make calls, and an eye-watering £6 per MB of data downloaded. This could mean watching a short YouTube video could cost you a staggering £120!

It may be better to pick up a local SIM card in these countries if your mobile phone is unlocked.

There are also no guarantees about Switzerland – although many of the networks include Switzerland in their Euro Zone packages.

Finally, remember to stay inside your network provider’s monthly call and data allowance. If you exceed your monthly allowance, whilst the on-top cap still applies, you could find yourself returning to a nasty surprise when you receive your next bill. Normal call charges outside your tariff will apply – which can mean expensive calls and data are being used.

Let us know in the comments about your own experiences with mobile roaming charges and if you have found this article helpful, please remember to share it on your social networks (free of charge of course!).