As of today, the cost of using your mobile within the EU has been cut. This should help holiday makers avoid the fear of opening their post-holiday mobile bills. It’s great news, but do the cuts go far enough?
After a relaxing holiday in Europe, the last thing you want to come home to is an enormous mobile bill. But now that risk should be reduced, as cuts have been made to the limits on how much you can be charged for using your mobile when travelling in the EU.
Cutting the cost of roaming
From now on, the maximum cost that mobile phone providers can charge you for making a call within the EU has been cut by 17% to just over 20p (excluding VAT). You won’t be charged more than 7p to send a text, or 6p a minute to receive a call. Maximum charges for using the internet in the EU have also been cut to 39p per megabyte.
I’ve always been put off using my mobile abroad by the prohibitively expensive charges I knew I‘d face. In fact, on a recent holiday to Denmark, I switched off roaming on my mobile altogether. Although I quite enjoyed turning off my connection to the rest of the world for a few days, the option to use Google maps or check my emails without fear of spiraling charges would have been useful.
Today’s cuts are definitely a step in the right direction, but I can’t help thinking they don’t go far enough. At current rates, the price for a single gigabyte of data could still potentially cost almost £400 while roaming in the EU. The way I see it, if I can live, work and study anywhere within the EU without jumping through hoops, surely I should be able to check my emails just as easily?
Free to roam the EU
Personally, I’d like to see the EU get rid of mobile roaming charges altogether. And thankfully, my wish could become a reality. Recently in Brussels, European Commissioners voted to fast-track a package of proposals that will see roaming fees completely scrapped for voice calls, texts and internet access.
At Which?, we want the Commission to press ahead with these plans, and put an end to uncertainty about using mobiles abroad. We also want the Commission to be vigilant – making sure the industry plays fair and doesn’t hike other charges to compensate.
But until roaming charges are scrapped, I think I’ll seek out free Wi-Fi in the hotel lobby rather than using 3G the next time I go on holiday. Do you think today’s cuts have gone far enough to help relieve your fears about using your phone abroad? Or will you wait until roaming charges are scrapped altogether before you switch on your mobile in the EU?