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Strict limits proposed on mobile roaming use

The European Commission may impose limits on the use of mobile phones abroad after roaming fees are scrapped in 2017, the Financial Times has reported.29 Nov 2016

EU telecoms providers cut surcharges for 'roaming' phone calls and data use in EU countries from 30 April this year, and roaming charges are due to be completely abolished in June 2017, subject to a 'fair use' policy that the Commission will put in place.

Since 30 April this year mobile operators have been prohibited from charging consumers more than €0.05 per minute for calls, €0.02 for text messages and €0.05 per megabyte for data above domestic prices when they use their phones abroad within the EU. From 15 June 2017 those additional charges will be prohibited except where consumers exceed a "fair use" cap on the use of mobile services abroad. 

The Commission is considering what the fair use cap might involve and could propose extra fees for users with unlimited deals or cut-off points after users have used a set amount of data, according to a draft proposal seen by the Financial Times.

The EU's Council of Ministers  said in October 2015 that the European Commission will draw up rules to help mobile network operators set limits on the amount of 'roaming' they will allow their customers to engage in before they can apply charges to the activity.

"With a view to ensuring the sustainability of the domestic charging model, in specific and exceptional circumstances, where roaming providers will not be able to recover overall costs of providing regulated roaming services from overall revenues of providing such services, they, subject to the authorisation by the national regulatory authority, may apply a surcharge, but only to the extent necessary to recover those costs," the Council said in its reasons document at the time.