All Mobile Companies 'Free' mobile roaming in the EU starts on Thursday 15th June- 10 things you need to know

    From mse includes all mobile phones so check your provider as some include outside the EU such as Switzerland or the Usa

    New European Union rules which come into effect this week will slash the cost of using your mobile in most parts of Europe. But while it's been touted as "the end of roaming charges", it's not quite that simple.

    Related MSE Guides

    Cheap Mobile and Data Roaming
    Use your phone abroad for less, incl roam free trick

    10 USA Roaming Tips
    Pay UK rates with a special Sim

    Cheap Data Roaming
    Avoid shock bills using the web abroad

    If you're travelling in Europe this summer, here are the ten things you need to know about the new rules, which apply from Thursday 15 June. For full help on how to cut your mobile roaming costs, plus what to do if you're travelling outside Europe, see our Cheap Mobile and Data Roaming guide.

    1. 'Free' roaming means you won't be charged any extra fees to use your UK allowance of minutes, texts or (most) data. As a general rule, you'll be able to use your phone for the same cost as in the UK. So minutes, texts and data will come out of your UK allowance, and when you exceed your allowance (or if you're a pay-as-you-go user), you just pay what you would in the UK. There are a couple of exceptions though - see below.

    2. The changes to roaming charges will take place automatically - there's no need to sign up to anything. It's up to mobile phone providers to implement the EU rules (and some already have). You don't need to do anything to benefit from them.

    3. The new EU rules will soon apply beyond the EU. From Thursday, 'free' roaming will apply to all 28 EU countries. But the new rules will be extended to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (the three additional countries in the European Economic Area, if you like jargon) within a few weeks, if not sooner - we should know the exact date shortly.

    That still leaves a number of European countries where the new rules won't apply - though some providers may voluntarily let you use your UK allowance there anyway. If you're travelling to Andorra, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine or the Vatican City, check with your network (in practice, you may not be charged extra when visiting some of the tiny countries on this list anyway).

    Martin Lewis
    Get Our Free Money Tips Email!
    For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out
    GET IT!
    FAQs Privacy Policy Past Emails Unsubscribe
    4. Calls to EU numbers while roaming - say, if you call the restaurant down the road - are likely to come from your UK allowance. There's some confusion over this - we've been given conflicting information from the European Commission about how the rules will work, and we'll update this story when we've had a definitive answer.

    However it appears that under the new EU rules, while roaming in the EU you'll be able to call most landlines and mobiles within the EU (and in due course, Iceland, Liechenstein and Norway too) paying just what you'd pay in the UK. This is confirmed in the European Commission's FAQs (see pt 11) and two UK mobile firms have also told us this is the case - we're checking with the others.

    If you're unsure though, ask your provider. It's possible some premium rate numbers for example could still cost more, even if there's no extra roaming charge.

    5. Beware, 'free' may not always be free - some with unlimited data or cheaper packages could still face extra charges for using their full UK data allowance. As revealed last month, the 'fair use' small print of the EU rules allows firms to charge some users on cheaper mobile deals extra fees to use their full UK data allowance. (There are no extra charges for calls or texts).

    The exact amount of your data allowance you can use before these extra charges kick in varies by provider. For example, Three pay-monthly customers will be able to use the first 12GB of their data allowance free (9GB for PAYG users) and then have to pay £7.30/GB to use the remainder of their allowance. EE's 'fair use' limit is 15GB, while Vodafone says it won't set one. See Extra data charges for a full list of providers' limits and extra charges.

    6. The new EU rules apply to mobile phone users on trips abroad - not those who move abroad. This is another 'fair use' limit. Under the new EU rules, if in any given four-month period your phone is outside the UK for over half the time, your network CAN charge you roaming fees on calls, texts and data usage. So if you're staying in an another 'roam like at home' country for longer than a few weeks, it may work out cheaper to buy a local Sim.

    7. Brexit won't affect the new EU rules - for now. Right now, the UK's still a member of the EU, so the new rules apply to UK mobile users. When the UK leaves the EU, they won't. But it's not yet clear if that means mobile roaming costs will rocket, or if new arrangements will be put in place to keep them down.

    'Free' mobile roaming in the EU starts on Thursday - 10 things you need to know 'Free' mobile roaming in the EU starts on Thursday - 10 things you need to know
    8. Data fiend? Wi-fi's still a better bet if you can find it free. If you've movies to download or a stack of photos to share on Facebook, it's still probably best to use free Wi-fi in a hotel, bar, cafe or restaurant if you can find it. That way you won't burn through your data allowance (and potentially risk extra charges if you're on a cheap or unlimited deal).

    9. If you regularly cross a border to go to work (eg, between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) you won't be considered to be roaming. Under the new rules, if your phone 'logs' into your home country's network for at least a short while each day, then you won't be considered to be 'roaming' at any point that day.

    The same will apply to people living in Kent who can find that their phone switches to a French network every so often. And in fact, it's likely to apply to everyone travelling to the EU on the day they arrive and the day they leave - though we're checking this with the European Commission and will update this story when we know more.

    Obviously for most this won't make much difference in practice, as roaming charges are largely disappearing anyway. But if you're a heavy data user it means you're less likely to be caught out by 'fair use' rules.

    10. The new rules may not apply on board ferries or cruise ships. If you're on a ship and your phone is able to connect to a terrestrial phone network in one of the countries covered by the 'roam like at home' rules, then they will apply. However if your mobile uses an onboard satellite system to get a signal, that provider's not bound by the new EU rules and you're likely to be charged a fair whack - even if sailing from one EU country to another.

    So if you're crossing the Channel, it might be worth turning off roaming on your phone to avoid your phone inadvertently connecting to the ship's onboard satellite system. Some ferry companies offer free wi-fi on board, so use that if you can.


    Excellent post, Anon32

    I roam a lot with my job and as regards the ferry across the channel, P & O Don't have their own network but DFDS do and it is extortionate! I always go into flight mode if I have to cross with them.

    Plusnet have sent my parents a text saying that that roam at home will be enabled by 30th June. They go on holiday tomorrow to Greece and plusnet are unable to tell them if roaming will be enabled or whether they'll be charged for calls. Surely they can't do this?

    Thank you for the useful post.

    Will be interesting to see if providers allow minutes and texts within the ruling...

    i.e. If I call from my UK mobile to a Spanish mobile (or any other EU mobile) will it fall within my UK unlimited minutes tariff.

    guessing answer will be down to provider......

    Anyone know what happens after we exit the EU?

    Destard2 h, 27 m ago

    Anyone know what happens after we exit the EU?

    Considering that these rules are set by the European Commission, IF we leave the EU, the UK networks will no longer be obliged to enforce these rules (but they may do).
    Edited by: "MadeDixonsCry" 14th Jun

    Original Poster

    There are plenty of ways around this! The rules are if you offer roaming then europe is free! There is nothing syopping providers charging extra for this in higher monthly costs! With the cheapest tarrifs remaining UK only with no roaming enabled
    Post a comment
      Top Discussions
      1. Can't delete friends on Xbox 360 or accept any friend requests, anyone know…33
      2. Sad Gazza anecdote August 8th 2017 - Beyond help?1118
      3. Sad news about Barcelona26113
      4. Just heard this...2 ★★★★★★★★★★★★★★ congrats to all on 392k ★★★★★★★★★★★★★★7764188

      See more discussions