The European Parliament has formally approved rules that will bring to an end the varied and confusing mobile roaming charges within the EU.

Why are roaming charges being scrapped?

Woman texting on highstreet
Texting your German friends while out shopping? No roaming charges! (Lauren Hurley/PA)


For years, mobile phone customers have returned from holiday to find they have been hit with unexpected bills for using their mobile devices while abroad.

These charges were higher for those using a lot of data, for example downloading a movie for their child to watch.

There has long been talk of scrapping the charges, and the European Parliament has now formally approved the rules.

So the charges are now a thing of the past?

Member of Spanish parliament on phone
Calling oversees from the Spanish Parliament? No roaming charges! (Francisco Seco/AP)


No, they are being gradually phased out. From next April, the amount operators can pile on top of your standard charge will be capped.

This will be set at a maximum of 0.05 euro (3p) per minute of call made, 0.02 euro (1p) per text sent, and 0.05 euro (3p) per MB of data, excluding VAT.

In June 15, 2017 the charges will be scrapped across the EU, and you will be charged the same to make calls, send text messages and use data as if you were at home.

Why not scrap the charges now?

Texting on a wall
Texting on a wall? No roaming charges! (Lauren Hurley/PA)


Network operators have insisted they need time to prepare the market for the changes.

What else was announced?

Man taking photo of London telephone box
Sending a picture of a London phone box back home? No roaming charges! (Steve Parsons/PA)


Along with the roadmap for scrapping roaming charges, new net neutrality rules mean users across the EU will be free to access the content of their choice and will no longer be unfairly blocked or slowed down.

This means access to a start-up’s website will not be unfairly slowed down to make way for bigger companies, the EC said.

No service will be hampered because it does not pay an additional fee to internet service providers.