New EU Roaming Rules: What you Need to Know When Making Calls Abroad

Lifestyle & Travel ♦ Published: June 30, 2022; 20:35 ♦ (Vindobona)

From 1 July, new roaming regulations will come into force in the EU. These are designed to make it easier for EU citizens to use mobile data and make calls from abroad to home. Launched in 2017, the project is now being extended for another 10 years and is expected to bring significant benefits for businesses and EU citizens.

Roaming in the EU will be extended for another 10 years. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons, Fairphone, CC BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Commons

Today, 1 July 2022, a new, improved EU roaming regulation comes into force. Roaming at domestic prices" is to be extended for another 10 years, thus continuing to allow travellers in the EU and EEA to make calls, send SMS and surf the internet from abroad to their home country without additional charges. Roaming in the EU is thus guaranteed until at least 2032.

The European Commission also expects the new rules to bring significant benefits for EU businesses and citizens.

"Thanks to our roaming regulation, we have all benefited from 'roaming at home prices'. We can make calls, send SMS and surf the internet when travelling in the EU at no extra cost. This is a very tangible benefit of our single European market. By extending these rules, roaming charges between operators will remain competitive and consumers will continue to enjoy surcharge-free roaming services for the next ten years," said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of 'A Europe for the Digital Age'.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton added: "Remember how we had to switch off mobile data usage when travelling in Europe to avoid running up a huge roaming bill? That's a thing of the past. And we want it to stay that way for at least the next ten years. More speed, more transparency: we are helping to constantly improve the lives of EU citizens."

What has improved?

For one thing, consumers are now entitled to the same quality of mobile internet as at home. This means that mobile services are encouraged to provide access to 4G or even 5G networks for their users abroad, if the technical possibilities of the respective location allow it.

On the other hand, unexpected hidden costs are to be avoided in the future. Especially when travelling by air or sea, consumers' mobile phones connect to the on-board network provided via satellites. Since this is a non-terrestrial network, high costs can be incurred, which should no longer be the case in future.

Operators are to protect their consumers by making it compulsory for them to inform their consumers before they log on to a non-terrestrial network. In addition, a cap on mobile phone costs is to be introduced, which will prevent customers from having to pay more than €50.

Furthermore, customers are to be automatically informed by their mobile phone operators via SMS on the single EU emergency number 112 as soon as they use their smartphone abroad.

A new Roaming Regulation reduces operators' wholesale charges for providing roaming services abroad to their customers. The wholesale caps are set at a level that ensures operators remain profitable to provide roaming services at domestic prices to consumers.

By lowering wholesale charges, all operators will be able to offer competitive roaming tariffs that adhere to the principle of 'roaming at domestic prices'.


With the EU Roaming Regulation, citizens in the EU enjoy surcharge-free roaming without extra charges for calls, SMS and mobile data when abroad. However, there is still room for improvement. 33% of respondents in the latest Eurobarometer survey had lower mobile data speeds abroad than they would normally have at home, and 28% had lower network standards (i.e. 3G instead of 4G).

A study conducted by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) found that 25% of customers experienced lower quality service while roaming than they did at home, even though better network conditions would have been available.

In February 2021, the Commission proposed a new enhanced Roaming Regulation, which would give all mobile and internet users free roaming while traveling in Member States until 30 June 2020, as the previous Roaming Regulation was due to expire on 30 June 2020. Today, 1 July, it will take effect.

EC European Commission