Will EU Roaming Charges Cut Your Mobile Phone Bill?
Way to go Europe!
Europe is making big changes in the world by putting an end to roaming costs for travelers from other countries and allowing them to access the web at normal rates with no fees. Many people have come back from traveling around Europe with massive cell phone bills due to exorbitant roaming costs. Making phone calls and text messages right now in Europe while on roaming can cost you a small fortune. Finally, after two years of trying to get through the Council and European Parliament, the agreement was made in 2015. According to the agreement, mobile phone companies will be prohibited from charging customers extra for using their phones in countries across Europe.
An interim cap on charges will take effect in April of this year. All roaming surcharges are expected to be abolished in June of 2017.
|Apr 2016||June 2017|
|Outgoing Calls (per min)||domestic price + up to $0.05||no extra roaming fee, same as domestic rates|
|Incoming calls (per min)||domestic price + up to $0.05||no extra roaming fee, same as domestic rates|
|Outgoing text messages||domestic price + up to $0.05||no extra roaming fee, same as domestic rates|
|Mobile data (per MB)||domestic price + up to $0.05||no extra roaming fee, same as domestic rates|
Who will benefit from the roaming costs abolition?
The new law only applies to 31 European countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK
Although this is great news for many travelers in Europe planning their vacations, it won’t be another year before the plan becomes an action. Before relying on this completely, there are also many countries in Europe that this law will not apply to.
Albania, Andorra, Croatia, San Marino, Switzerland, and Turkey are excluded from the new regulations.
What if I am going to Europe now?
If you’re planning to travel to Europe soon, make sure to plan ahead and be wise about what you use for Internet and mobile data while you are counting days to your European vacation. For only $69, you can purchase Keepgo’s Worldwide Lifetime Data SIM Card, and be covered completely. Roaming is a poor decision that is unfortunately made by many travelers, and Keepgo devices will keep you connected to your family and friends while you travel through Europe. Keepgo’s SIM card enables you to travel from country to country without the worry of getting bogged down with roaming fees or other international charges. You will have 1GB of high speed data while you travel and you won’t have to rely on slow public Wi-Fi.
Pros and Cons
There are many evident pros to roaming costs being abolished. Unfortunately, with pros there also comes drawbacks in many areas. A very positive aspect of this change is that Europeans that are traveling will pay the same price for text messages, Internet, and phone calls as you would back home. Consumers will be able to break contracts with their companies if they don’t get the speed of internet they pay for, and the EU telecommunication market could improve up to 146 billion dollars. While these are great benefits for Europeans traveling, it’s completely useless to Americans or travelers from other areas in the world.
The setbacks that come with this law being passed can vary from small potential issues to much larger ones. Small telecommunication services may lose business very quickly because they would be competing with much larger telecommunications conglomerates that allow customers to use domestic minutes in other countries. This will only lead to higher prices, as the smaller services would be pushed out of the market. There are many controversial alleged problems that would occur when the law is passed in 2017, but for Europeans, the bad outweighs the good.
It doesn’t look like the US or any other countries in the world would be following this trend any time soon, so playing it safe means avoiding using roaming while traveling to Europe. There are many horror stories of unfortunate Americans who have traveled to Europe and have come back to phone bills that are very steep-sometimes in the thousands. For example, American providers such as AT&T and Verizon can charge upwards of $20 for only one megabyte for data while on roaming. One megabyte of usage stacks up incredible quick, just by browsing your mobile’s internet for a few minutes.
For Americans traveling to Europe, the best and most cost efficient way to keep your internet, phone calls, and texting, is to purchase a long lasting global SIM card or a Wi-Fi hotspot. Keepgo’s Wi-Fi Hotspot fits in your pocket or purse, and can connect you to 10 different devices. You are given 1GB of usage, and automatically connect to 3G or 3.5G when you arrive in Europe. It is very simple to use, and for all the benefits such as one year of coverage (only needed to re-validate your SIM or Hotspot online for another year), and coverage in many other countries besides those in Europe, the small cost of $129 for a Hotspot instantly pays itself off.
While the law abolishing roaming charges for Europeans is great news with only minor setbacks for its inhabitants, if you’re an American planning a trip to the Eiffel Tower next year, you won’t get these benefits. If you stay on roaming, depending on your mobile provider, expect a very pricey phone bill if you plan on using your phone a lot while you’re there. Maybe sometime in the far future, Europe’s roaming law will extend to other countries outside of their territory. Until then, using global SIM’s or hotspots will be the most beneficial decision you’ll make.