from the 15th of June 2017, UK citizens will be able to use mobile devices in the EU for the same cost as if they were at home, at least until Brexit.
That means calling, texting, and surfing the net with no extra charges, including no charges to receive a call.
This has been termed ‘roam like at home’, and effectively abolishes roaming charges; creating a single unified network across Europe. The Maltese Minister for Digital economy remarked:
“When Europeans go on holiday this summer, they can enjoy the freedom of being able to stay in touch and use the internet as if they were at home. The EU is making our lives easier in very practical ways.”
However, it is not without caveats. Special rules apply to phone plans with unlimited data and pre-paid cards, and use is subject to operators’ fair usage policies. Be aware that this also doesn’t change calling your friends abroad, The prices of calls from home to a foreign country, including in the EU, are not regulated.
Its use is intended for those living in Europe who travel to other EU countries for work or leisure. As such, it is not intended to allow permanent roaming where a customer would take out a subscription in a cheaper country and use it to roam in his home country.
However, as long as you spend more time at home than abroad, or you use your mobile phone more at home than abroad, then you can roam at domestic prices when travelling wherever in the EU. This is generally considered fair usage of roaming services
Fair usage may also include restrictions on data usage. If at home you have unlimited or very cheap calls and SMS, you will get very cheap or unlimited calls and SMS when roaming in the EU. However, their operator may apply limits on data use when roaming. Using more data than this limit will incur further charges.
On June 15th your operator should inform you about how your particular tariff will be affected by the changes, and when crossing an EU border you will receive a text about how the fair usage policy applies in that country.
‘Roam at home’ will also be introduced in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway shortly after 15 June.