Businesses and travelers across the European Economic Area have benefitted from better connectivity since roaming charges were abolished in 2017. The regulation was a success and will be extended for another 10 years.

The European Commission last week proposed new Roaming Regulations. The regulation will prolong the current regime that will expire in 2022 for another 10 years. It will also improve the roaming services within the European Economic Area – meaning the regulations also include Liechtenstein.

“Wherever we are in Europe, we can check in with our loved ones, talk business, and share stories while on the road without worrying about costly bills,” says Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age. “The end of roaming charges is a prime example of how the EU keeps millions of citizens connected and improves their lives. The new rules will keep roaming at no extra charges and make it even better.”

Roaming-free prices led to a massive increase in traffic

Users will also be entitled to have the same quality and mobile connection speed abroad as at home – if equivalent networks are available. The new rules will also secure efficient access to emergency services and increase consumer awareness on possible fees from using value-added services while roaming.

A survey by the new Eurobarometer found that 50 percent of all Europeans who own a mobile phone traveled to another EU country in the last two years. Thanks to the Roaming Regulations, they enjoy roaming-free prices and benefits. The massive increase in roaming traffic since June 2017, when the rules were established, shows that the end of roaming charges has unleashed the untapped demand for mobile consumption.

European connectivity is key for digital businesses

For businesses in the digital space, these regulations are important. Connectivity at low cost is paramount for using digital services.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, comments: “Millions of Europeans have been enjoying the benefits of roaming throughout the EU at no extra charges. It is an established and successful cornerstone of the single market. In Europe’s Digital Decade everyone must be able to have excellent connectivity everywhere they are in Europe, just like at home. Today we confirm the commitment towards our citizens. In parallel, we work to support investment in adequate infrastructure.”

If travelers can confidently call numbers and access value-added services, such as technical helpdesks or customer support, and have easier access to high-speed internet, they are more likely to keep using digital services across borders. At the same time, the framework also provides incentives to invest in networks and further improve European connectivity.

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