If you're traveling between countries in the European Union, there's good news for your wallet: it won't be quite so thoroughly mugged by international roaming charges starting today. After a vote by the European Commission last month, wireless roaming charges for text, data, and voice usage are being forcibly reduced across its 28 member states. Today's policy change will lower maximum roaming charges to 45 European cents per megabyte, 24 cents per outgoing call minute, 7 cents per received call minute, and 8 cents for a text message, plus value-added tax in all cases. Data gets the most dramatic reduction, with an average savings of 36% over last year.

But wait, that's not all! Sometime next year, the regulatory policy will be expanded, with the aim of eventually removing international roaming charges completely (within the EU only, of course). Telecom corporations aren't exactly thrilled at the changes, but they don't have a lot of say in the matter. Other telecom policies which are sometimes considered anti-consumer, such as contract-sustaining early termination fees, will not be altered for the time being. The initial report from the EU predicted at 2% drop in initial revenue after the change, followed by increased revenue as travellers shift their usage patterns in response to less abusive roaming policies.

If you're traveling to the European Union from the United States or any other country, the new policy doesn't apply to you or your domestic wireless carrier. Picking up a prepaid SIM card or burner phone while in the EU is probably still your best bet for cost-efficient mobile access.

Source: Europa.eu

New lower price caps for mobile roaming from 1 July: data 36% cheaper; roaming in Croatia 15 times cheaper

From 1 July 2013, the European Union's Roaming Regulation will lower the price caps for data downloads by 36%, making it much cheaper to use maps, watch videos, check emails and update social networks while travelling across the EU. Data roaming will now be up to 91% cheaper in 2013 compared to 2007. During this period the volume of the data roaming market has grown 630%. These two trends mean both consumers and mobile operators have significant new opportunities thanks to EU efforts.

The EU has achieved retail price reductions across calls, SMS and data of over 80% since 2007.

Each year, Europeans make several million visits to Croatia, which joins the EU on 1 July. This year visitors to Croatia will enjoy spectacular savings as the cost for data decreases almost 15 times and sending a SMS or making a phone call elsewhere in the EU will be 10 times cheaper.

Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "The EU has to be relevant to people’s lives. The latest price cuts put more money in your pocket for summer, and are a critical step towards getting rid of these premiums once and for all. This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market.

The new prices caps, which enter into force on 1st July 2013, are:

  • Downloading data or browsing the Internet - 45 cents / Megabyte (MB) (charged per Kilobyte used) + VAT. (36% reduction compared to 2012)

  • Making calls - 24 cents / minute + VAT (17% reduction compared to 2012)

  • Receiving a call - 7 cents / minute + VAT (12.5% reduction compared to 2012)

  • Sending a text message - 8 cents + VAT (11% reduction compared to 2012)

Operators are free to offer cheaper rates, and some have already begun to remove roaming premiums altogether for voice and SMS, or offer a roaming-free area region across one section of Europe or another.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Nasko Hristov


  • Rami

    The problem is that the prices in some countries are higher than the roaming prices, for example for me in Italy, sending an SMS without a messaging plan will cost me 11 cents / message, while if I go to some other EU country and send an SMS to Italy it will cost me 8 cents...

    Let's hope they the EU makes some rules to limit prices to all operators too.

    • Sigma

      Why would they? With roaming charges gone you could buy any card from ANY member state and it would work the same as your domestic carrier currently does. What it means a carrier from say Hungary can advertise its plans to say French customers which boosts competition and lowers prices for us. No need to regulate any of that.

  • Herman

    I'm still waiting for the time when I can use my data plan across all of Europe without paying more. I want to be able to call from other European countries as well without unexpectedly paying tons of money because I just so happen to be in another country.

    • ProductFRED

      Seriously, the EU should be comparable to (sorry for the comparison :P) the United States when it comes to roaming with cell phone plans; we don't pay when we make a call in/to different states. At the very least, treat T-Mobile Austria, for example, and T-Mobile Germany act as the same network to eliminate roaming fees. Yeah, they're different countries, but it's essentially the same network. And the purpose of the EU is to unite most of the big European countries to act as one superpower similar to the US.

    • Mathias Kenting

      The parliament decided that a few weeks ago. By summer 2014 all roaming charges inside the EU will stop. http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/06/14/european-union-to-end-roaming-fees-across-the-continent-in-summer-2014-for-eu-carriers/

      • Herman

        I read it was 2015...
        Either way, we'll still have to wait a while before that's introduced. And I might as well be studying abroad by then, in which case it wouldn't benefit me anymore :p

  • Steve Williamson

    Does this cover all EU States or just ones with the Euro? I would assume it would be all. So i guess its a normal conversion from Cents to Pence?

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      It's in the second sentence of the article - all EU members are affected.

  • peter

    BTW. its euro cent not european cent, as the currency is called the Euro

  • PIL

    Well, after this change it is abnormal that in many EU countries (Greece, Italy, Netherlands for example) you will have to pay more while texting or calling someone using your carrier's network instead of using roaming. Of course this applies to the sms and calls you do after what is included in your montlhy plan (as long as you have one and you are not using prepaid -then it is a complete rip off-).

  • Mathias Kenting

    Not to be a douche, I know the EU flag you use is the first that comes up on Google, but the colour is wrong, the second one that comes up with a darker blue is the right one.
    Again sorry for being that guy...

  • Just

    Anyone know why vodafone charge 24pence per minute and 8.1 per text I've spoken to them and they say there isnt a cap