The EU is preparing a law to ensure that people can continue to make calls, send text messages and surf on the web while travelling in other EU countries, without the fear of a shock when they get their bill, after the current roaming regulation expires on 30 June 2022. Today, member statesʼ ambassadors agreed on a negotiating mandate to extend the roam-like-at-home scheme which came into force in 2017.
Getting rid of roaming fees in 2017 was without a doubt one of the most eagerly awaited and popular decisions the EU has taken in the digital area - for that matter, in almost any area. It would be unthinkable for ‘roam like at home’ to come to an end. Today’s swift agreement on the Council’s position ensures that we can continue to stay in touch and surf on the internet when travelling in Europe without incurring extra charges.
Pedro Nuno Santos, Portuguese Minister for Infrastructure and Housing, President of the Council
In particular, the revised roaming regulation aims to adjust the maximum wholesale prices to ensure that the provision of retail roaming services at domestic prices is sustainable for operators throughout the EU.
The proposal also introduces new measures to increase transparency on value added services, and aims to ensure a good customer experience in terms of quality of service and access to emergency services.
Another important aspect is to ensure that the regulation takes account of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes that have come with it in travel and tourism, increase in working from home and remote meetings affecting roaming consumption. The proposal also takes into consideration the deployment of 5G as we are at the beginning of a fundamental technology change in Europe and, at present, do not yet have data on the costs of providing 5G services, especially data roaming services.
The Council has improved the accessibility of emergency services for people with special needs, and added rules to protect customers from bill shocks resulting from inadvertent roaming on satellite networks when on ferries or aeroplanes.
The Council text also clarifies the roles of the different competent authorities in carrying out tasks arising from the regulation.
Today's mandate was approved by ambassadors meeting in the Council's Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper). It will allow the Council presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as the Parliament has its mandate ready. Both the Council and the European Parliament will need to agree on the final text.