Abolition of roaming charges in EU may lead to higher costs

The Forum is warning small businesses in the UK to be aware when calling abroad as the abolition of roaming charges within the EU may not lead to reduced expenses as previously hoped and could be more expensive.

On the 15th June 2017, a European Union law was abolished enabling mobile phones to be used abroad. The new ‘Roam like at home’ rule now means that people travelling within the EU will be able to use their phones as if they are at home, including browsing the internet, making calls and sending a text message.

The abolition of roaming charges is a step in the right direction and the European Commission has quoted that the end of roaming charges was one of the greatest successes of the EU.

Beware of hidden costs

However, many have said that this is not enough as they believe companies will not save as much in costs as previously thought. The consumer magazine Which? Has warned that exceeding data allowances could still be chargeable and exceeding agreed minutes, texts and data would still be charged in the EU as it would in the UK with providers charging different rates.

Dave Millet, an independent telecoms adviser offers advice to consumers and businesses:

“People should be aware that this change does not mean calling or texting European numbers is free they remain chargeable. Users must still stay within their overall allowance.

Dave goes on to say:

“If you are paying for a bundle that gave you an allowance of EU minutes then you should ask the supplier to stop charging you.”

The telecoms consultancy experts of A&B Groep has conducted an investigation and concludes:

“The abolition of roaming charges within the EU does not automatically lead to lower calling charges or reduced expenses for companies. The cost for out-of bundle calls have increased, new subscriptions are more expensive and companies are charged higher fees due to complex contracts. Moreover, roaming charges are still applied in other European countries. Calling from Switzerland, for example, has become even more expensive than before.”

What about Brexit?

The impact of Brexit on roaming charges is currently not clear. It would be up to the future UK government to decide whether to have the EU price restrictions put on roaming or not following the UK’s exit from the EU.

What can you do?

The consumer organisation Which? has suggested that mobile users should get in touch with their mobile phone providers to check the details of their tariffs and to avoid being caught with high, unexpected roaming charges.

Sources:

BBC News

Dave Millet has over 35 years of telecoms experience and works with many companies, charities and other organisations to achieve savings of up to 80%.  He also regularly advises telecom suppliers and can be contacted directly on 07809 431055 or via Twitter @equinoxcomms.

A&B Groep is a leading consultancy firm in the field of communications.

Which?