Joint statement by Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Gabriel on the one year anniversary of the end of roaming charges in Europe

European Commission's picture

Brussels, 15 June 2018

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society announced after the first year without roaming charges in the EU that Europeans largely benefit from the new rules:

"We are happy to see that people use their mobile phones more and more freely when travelling abroad in the EU, especially when it comes to mobile data. Frequent travellers and European youth, in particular, recognise the benefits of roaming without extra costs.

This is an example of an EU that concretely improves the life of European citizens. Roam like at home is working and is becoming a habit: customers are appreciating it, consumption is up and the demand for mobile services while travelling in the EU is very high. It benefits consumers and operators alike. The large increase in roaming traffic has also a positive effect on wholesale revenues for operators.

Our main goal was to lift the significant barriers created by roaming charges, for consumers who were limited by the cost of using their phones abroad, but also for mobile operators. Since we abolished the charges, more than five times the amount of data has been consumed and almost two and a half times more phone calls have been made in the EU and the European Economic Area. This is great news.  Moreover, 82% of people who have travelled to another EU country in the last year say they have benefitted from the new rules. No-one has to face a bill shock anymore after returning from holidays or a business trip abroad.

We will continue our cooperation with national regulators to monitor the developments on mobile markets all over Europe and to guarantee the rules are well applied.

The good news for European citizens does not end here. Additionally to end of roaming charges, European citizens can travel with their digital subscriptions since 1 April this year. Starting from 3 December this year the European consumers will be able to find the best deals online when buying goods and services across the EU without being discriminated based on nationality and residence."

Background

Thanks to the new EU roaming rules, in place since 15 June 2017, consumers can use their mobile phone while travelling abroad in the EU as they would do at home, without paying extra charges.

The latest Eurobarometer survey on roaming, 62% of Europeans are aware that roaming charges have ended and 69% think that they, or someone they know, will benefit. Especially frequent travellers and young people recognise a clear benefit of the new rules.

The end of roaming charges was an important step to make the EU's single market fit for the digital age. Altogether the Commission has presented 29 legislative proposals under the Digital Single Market strategy. 16 of the proposals have by now been agreed, with first ones to come into force being new roaming rules, portability of online content and rules against unjustified geoblocking.

The Commission encourages the co-legislators to conclude the remaining 13 legislative proposals under the Digital Single Market strategy by the end of 2018.

STATEMENT/18/4181

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