Telekom Romania launches new roaming offers

A woman uses her mobile phone in Boeschepe at the Franco Belgian border | Philippe Huguen  AFP via Getty Images

Mobile phone companies will stop charging customers an excess for using their phones while in European Union countries.

The EU has scrapped mobile roaming charges from today, meaning that using a smartphone for calls, text and internet away in Europe will cost no more than using it at home. The end of roaming charges is a true European success story.

In a joint statement yesterday, the European Commission, parliament and Council, described the changes as "a concrete, positive result for European citizens". In some countries, operators do not intend to control fair use in calls and text messages, but will in data traffic.

HEXUS has been sent communications by various United Kingdom mobile phone companies and MVNOs regarding the news.

"Mobile users using handsets overseas should always check their network's roaming charges for their destination country before they travel - and see if there's a bundle or add-on that could limit the cost", said uSwitch.com telecoms expert Ernst Doku.

The new rules apply to any member of the EU and, later on, the European Economic Area (EEA) which includes Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

"If you check with your mobile phone provider before go that will keep you right", he added. This means mobile roaming on your device will be free, well, nearly because you could up paying huge sums if you don't mind some of the exceptions in this ruling.

"At the same time, the European Union has managed to find the right balance between the end of roaming charges and the need to keep domestic mobile packages competitive and attractive", the statement continued.

Many have criticised commission officials and Irish politicians for their failure to highlight this loophole, leading to fears that many Irish holiday makers will be hit with huge bills upon their return after they were led to believe they could "roam like home".

For the past 10 years there's been gradual reductions in the cost of using a phone overseas.

If you have a very cheap mobile plan - such as unlimited data, for example - the operators can still apply a fair use limit on data use while roaming. You may also get charged extra if you are spending more time in an European Union country than the country where the SIM card was issued over a four month period.

Sunrise charges 100 francs for a similar roaming deal under its "Freedom" range, and offers add-on roaming bundles for pay-as-you-go travellers.

"It is important that you take a close look at what is or isn't included in your current mobile deal", the organisation's Alex Neill warned.

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