On the 6th of April the European Commission released a press release announcing that from the 15th of June all roaming costs in the European Union will disappear.
In the press release the following statement can be read:
“As of 15 June 2017, you will be able to use your mobile device when travelling in the EU, paying the same prices as at home, i.e. to roam like at home, subject to operators’ fair use policies. For instance, if you pay for a monthly package of minutes, SMS and data in your country, any voice call, SMS and data session you make while travelling abroad in the EU will be deducted from that volume as if you were at home, with no extra charges. This means the end of roaming charges as travellers have experienced them so far.”
Rumors were saying that the data traffic was not intended to be Roaming-free or another rumor stated that operators might have 1 year extension in the application of the EU doctrine, however the press release clearly mention the data traffic and the caveat for the one year contract may apply to certain operators that can suffer a loss of more than 3% of their income in this operation, such a loss cannot be applied to any mobile operator, maybe a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) due to costs of agreement may fit in the 3% scenario.
Did you notice the “fair use policies” mentioned in the statement? Well, there are interpretations which are affecting the offers and, obviously, those are affecting the customers to protect the interest of the mobile companies, which, don’t take me wrong, I think is very legit. The phone companies are not charities, they are business companies with the aim of making profits.
I noticed three companies making a sort of early birds offers: Proximus, Scarlet and Mobile Vikings;
Scarlet is offering since a month or so two kind of subscriptions/prepaid plans which can be used also in Europe BUT for a maximum of 45 days per year. I think they will change that clause on the 15th of June because the European Commission statement is forbidding such limitation.
Mobile Viking will start offering their plans valid Europe-wide from the 15 of May, so one month in advance and to do so they changed the Terms and Conditions of their offers to match the recommendations of the European Authorities: we will screen your traffic for 4 months and if you misuse the card by staying in roaming-mode more than home-mode we reserve the right to close the contract after having informed you about the violation.
Proximus offer will start on the 12th of June and similar to the Mobile Viking offer they reserve the right to monitor the traffic for four consecutive months in order to prevent abuse. Their Terms and Conditions will change on the 12th of June and in the terms there is this interesting part:
- A presence and service consumption which prevail in the other Member States in comparison with the domestic presence and service consumption in Belgium or
- A long inactivity of a given SIM card associated with use mostly, if not exclusively, while roaming or
- A subscription and sequential use of multiple SIM cards by the same Customer while roaming.
In the meantime as of 12/06, customers on the certain rate plans will pay €0.06 VAT incl./MB instead of €0.03 VAT incl./MB if they exceed their bundle limit, which is aligning Proximus to the other operators in terms of prices for roaming.