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Going on holiday? Roaming charges are abolished from today

“Eliminating roaming charges is one of the greatest and most tangible successes of the EU,” EU leaders said.

Image: Shutterstock/ZullU InFocus

GOOD NEWS FOR holidaymakers travelling around the EU: roaming charges are being abolished as of today.

From today onwards, the extra charges for sending texts or making phone calls while abroad in an EU country will be no more. There will also be a heftier data allowance for users before extra charges kick in.

Today marks the culmination of a decade of effort by EU lawmakers to eliminate the charges across EU countries.

Officials sought to get rid of the high bills and costs that faced travellers using their mobile phones while abroad.

“Eliminating roaming charges is one of the greatest and most tangible successes of the EU,” EU leaders said in a joint statement.

“Over the last 10 years, our institutions have been working hard together to fix this market failure.

We are proud that the EU has put an end to very high roaming prices and thankful to those who showed the determination to overcome the many challenges and pursue this goal.

So what does this actually mean?

Basically, as of today making phone calls and sending texts while in Europe will cost the same as it does when you’re at home.

So if you have free calls and texts to every network here, you will be able to use those while abroad at no additional cost.

With data allowances it’s not quite as clear-cut, however.

Data restrictions were agreed between the European Commission and mobile networks to help phone networks because of the wholesale charges operators charge each other for network access.

Data allowances can be restricted to as little as 3GB per month under the EU rules and customers can be charged up to €9.50 per gigabyte in fees beyond their allowance.

In cases where an operator is providing an all you can eat service, the company can limit data volumes to twice what the customer would be able to buy with the value of their contract.

Anyone who is on a €20 a month bill can be capped at 4.2GB of roaming data per month, even if that plan gives unlimited data at home.

However, if you’re on a two-year contract where you get your phone for free as part of it, the mobile operator can deduct the phone cost from the calculation. If you’re paying €60 a month and have an iPhone 7 – that could eat up half of your allocation.

And once customers go over their allowance, they’ll be hit with the roaming charges of around €9.50 per GB.

Each network operator has different ways in which they will be delivering the data allowance, so it is worth checking with your own before you travel.

With reporting from Cliodhna Russell 

Read: Despite EU plan, Three mobile customers won’t get ‘all you can eat’ data abroad

Read: New EU roaming allowances: Here’s what phone companies will be charging from next week

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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