Blog/20140917 Roaming call charges in the EU

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Roaming call charges in the EU

Roaming used to cost a lot. Using a UK SIM card in Europe, you could easily pay over a pound per minute, both to make and receive calls. However, in seems that phone operators greediness led to European Union regulations.

Through EU regulation, currently the maximum charges are around 20p to make and around 5p to receive calls (per minute), when roaming in the EU. That's much better than what it was (and the cost has come down over the last few years to what it is now). Moreover, it looks like roaming charges are set to disappear completely by the end of 2015.

Of course operators are complaining. However, in the past I did have a German SIM card which I used in Germany, and had also bought an international SIM card, with better rates for Europe. Now, I'll just use my usual UK SIM, and I'm sure many others will do the same, so it's probably not fully justified.

Most operators charge the maximum allowed. Interestingly, Virgin Mobile doesn't charge at all for incoming calls (in the EU).

The cap on call charges has got one bizarre consequence, which is that calling an EU number while in the EU is capped at 20p, while calling the same number from the UK often costs more than 4 times as much!

The next frontier is charges for data roaming. While these are also capped, there's still a long way to go!

Some links: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Update: The mobile operator Three has a big campaign at the moment, stating that across a number of countries (including some European ones), there are no roaming charges whatsoever! That's pretty good. Also, during a trip last year, I noticed that Airtel offers favourable conditions across African countries; basically you always pay local rates, so when you use your Kenyan Airtel SIM in Rwanda, you only pay local rates for local calls. Bjoern 14:02, 9 February 2015 (UTC)


2014-09-17 | Leave a comment | Back to blog Share on Twitter Share on Facebook