We all have developed a vital habit when travelling in other countries: putting our phone in airplane mode or even switching it off completely to avoid phone bills that will double the total cost of our holidays.
However, this bad experience will soon only be a bad memory! Only in the European Union of course, but it already is a big step forward to be able to call people all around the world without additional costs.
The three main institutions of the EU – that is to say the Council, the Commission and the Parliament – finally managed to find a compromise that will lead to the abolition of roaming fees in the European Union by June 15th, 2017.
The delay in the application of this measure is due to the arm wrestling between the Council and the Parliament. Indeed, the former wanted to apply the abolition of roaming fees by 2018 whereas the latter wanted to apply it really sooner – as soon as December 15th, 2015.
Finally, the choice of June 15th, 2017 satisfied both parties and the first procedure to reduce fees will come into action on April 30th, 2016. This first step will make voice calls cheaper and put an upper limit at 5 cents/minute, text messages will be at 2 cents each and the Internet connection will be limited to 5 cents/Mo.
To figure out what this will change in your everyday life, you have to remember two main things.
First, you will be able to use your cell phone in all member countries as if you were home, without changing your connection habits and without additional fees.
Second, you will be able to call in other member states for the same price than in your home state. Thus, if you have friends or family abroad, you won’t have to complicate your life and resort to softwares like Skype or equivalent apps. You will only have to take your phone and call them!
Call fees are not the only changes: text messages, MMS and 3G or 4G will also be affected by this measure.
Some operators that already began to offer unlimited packages for Europe – such as Free – won’t have to experience much change, will be more prepared to these new markets and will have two years to get efficiently prepared to the competition on a market that isn’t really tapped at the moment.
It will lead to greater consumption in mobile phones since, up to now, 94% of Europeans used to reduce their internet use when going abroad and a quarter of them even switched their phone off to avoid additional costs.
Thus, in June 2017, no matter in which country of the EU you are, using your phone won’t be more complicated and, above all, you will be able to stay in touch with your family and friends. Moreover, couples will suffer less from long-distance relationships and will be able to communicate more easily.