It will now be easy to use bundled texts, data and minutes within the European Union at no upfront costs, you can find the best deals on comparison sites like Broadband Choices. It means you can now jet off and upload your holiday shots to social media networks on the go. In the countries not listed in the EU and those outside Europe, there are currently no caps on the roaming fees.
Will it be Free to use your Phone in Europe?
In the European counties, you can now use your phone as if you were at home. However, you will be expected to pay your normal monthly fee with no upfront costs for minutes, data and texts. It means being religious with the agreement you have with your provider.
Going above the dedicated limit of minutes, data, and texts offered by your tariff could get you penalised and have charged roaming fees. If you plan to exceed your limit, find out if your network offers add-ons.
Also, be careful who you call. For instance, some tariffs will charge on certain conditions. If your number is UK-based, any call made to a British number connects at no extra charges. However, using the same number to call a French line can cause you to be charged for an international call.
Are All European Countries Listed for the Offer?
The scrapping of the roaming charges does not apply to the whole of Europe. The member states are only 28, and this is where the outlawing takes effect. There are also three members of the European Free Trade Association that are included in the list, including Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Note that Switzerland, Monaco and Gibraltar are not in this list, meaning you must be careful where you use your phone. Providers, however, are different. For the Vodafone users, there are no charges in Turkey for example.
Three is perhaps the most friendly network, given that it includes a zero roaming fee in most countries outside Europe such as the US and Australia. If you are not sure where to use your Sim free phone, check with your network to avoid being penalised. In fact, in the 2017 budget, the UK government plans to introduce VAT for the roaming services used outside the EU.
This will dramatically add costs. For users with a UK number, you now won’t incur any charges on receiving calls from a UK number if within the EU. However, outside this bracket, you are likely to be charged 2.50 Euros per minute. To avoid hefty charges, be sure to purchase a local Sim card once you get to your destination. Have your family and friends call you via VoIP services.
Does this Apply to International Users Travelling to Europe?
Unfortunately, the offer only applies to members with a stable link to a member state with a sim card from a local carrier. As a traveller, you cannot purchase a sim free phone and expect to use it for roaming at free rates.
Although there is no official registration for this offer, the network you choose may ask for your proof of residency alongside other tangible documents. For the EU users, there is nothing expected for signing up.
If you are travelling, the best way is to switch off data roaming and stick to Wi-Fi. There are normally free Wi-Fi hotspots in hotels, buses and other areas. You can also use your 3G or 4G signal and then pay your provider for the data used.
Using your mobile phone abroad only means you are roaming. It is a process where your calls are routed through an overseas network provider instead of your local network. Normally, these calls are completed at vastly increased costs. The good news is that there is the free mobile roaming rule that came to effect on June 15. Even with the complete scrapping of the roaming charges in EU, if you are not careful where you use your phone, there could be hefty charges where a five-minute call could cost you up to 20 Euros alongside inflated data costs.