Mobile-phone users across the EU will benefit from free roaming for another ten years, after an agreement between the European Parliament and EU member states.
The regulation, which comes into effect on 1 July 2022, will prolong until 2032 the existing system whereby EU citizens cannot be subject to extra charges for calls or data used while travelling within the union.
The European Commission said that the regulation also included several improvements to the current system.
Under the new measures, consumers that usually have 5G services at home will also be able to enjoy 5G roaming services wherever available. Phone companies will also have to inform customers if there are factors that could impact the quality of their roaming experience.
Operators will also be obliged to “adequately inform” their customers about any extra charges users may incur when phoning services such as customer-service numbers, helpdesks or insurance companies.
The regulation also includes a new measure aimed at informing travellers of potentially high bills when their phone connects to non-terrestrial networks – such as those on a plane or on a boat.
The commission says that, from July 2022, there will be an automatic interruption of such services when the bill reaches a cost of €50, or another pre-defined limit. “Operators may offer additional services, such as the possibility to opt out from roaming on planes and boats,” the commission adds.
Wholesale charges cut
EU citizens will also have enhanced access to emergency communications – including caller location – free of charge.
The new roaming regulation also sets lower wholesale charges – the costs charged by hosting mobile operators, in exchange for access to their respective networks.
“We have since 2017 enjoyed the end of roaming charges. And, today we ensured that we can keep these benefits for another ten years to stay connected and call, text and surf the internet at no extra costs, when we travel in the EU," said commissioner Margrethe Vestager (pictured).