No Mobile Roaming Charges in EU by 2017, With Some Exceptions

The European Union is moving towards an end to mobile data roaming charges by 2017. Or maybe not. A new document suggests some fair use rules will be permissible.

Such policies, originally developed for “unlimited” Internet access plans, impose additional charges or limit access in some ways once a threshold of unusually-high usage is reached.

So even if most users will not ever encounter the fair use rules, it is not going to be literally correct that “no roaming charges” ever can be levied within the EU.

“Retail roaming surcharges in the European Union will be abolished as of 15 June 2017,” the document states. “However, the compromise defines two situations when the application of surcharges is still authorised, subject to specific criteria.”

“Roaming providers will be able to apply a 'fair use policy' to prevent abusive or anomalous usage of regulated retail roaming services,” the document says. “Once the fair use policy has been exceeded, a surcharge may be applied.”

Also, “where roaming providers will not be able to recover overall costs of providing regulated roaming services from overall revenues of providing such services, they, subject to the authorisation by the national regulatory authority, may apply a surcharge, but only to the extent necessary to recover those costs,” the new rules will stipulate.

So, generally speaking, roaming charges within the EU will end. But unusually-heavy usage might still trigger roaming costs. And in some instances, carriers will be able to apply surcharges to cover actual roaming costs.
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