EPRSLibrary By / October 10, 2013

A roaming-free Europe in 2015

Updated on 8 November 2013 The issue of roaming has been the subject of three regulations since 2007: The first…

© beugdesign / Fotolia
© beugdesign / Fotolia
© beugdesign / Fotolia

Updated on 8 November 2013

The issue of roaming has been the subject of three regulations since 2007: The first one was Regulation (EC) No 717/2007, which introduced the first caps for voice calls (i.e. the “Eurotariff) and set a number of transparency provisions to help to ensure that consumers were well informed.  A second regulation from 2009,  Regulation (EC) No 544/2009, cut voice calls roaming prices further and introduced new caps on SMS tariffs (i.e. the “Euro SMS tariff”).  And a third roaming regulation  in 2012,  Regulation (EU) No 531/2012, extended price caps on cross-border phone calls to data usage and further lowered the price for voice calls. In the meantime, the European Commission (EC) continues to  monitor and report about the roaming situation to the European Parliament (EP) and Council, which has improved overtime: For instance, the EU has achieved retail price reductions across calls, SMS and data of over 80% since 2007 and data roaming is now up to 91% cheaper compared to 2007. However, roaming still accounts for about 10 % of EU operator revenues, and on average, industry and consumers pay double the price for roaming calls that operators have to pay in the wholesale market. Which is still far from the Digital Agenda for Europe target, where the difference between roaming and national tariffs should be close to zero by 2015.

In order to achieve this target, the EC presented recently its proposal for a new legislative package on telecommunications (see IP/13/828), which considers different proposals to achieve the EU Digital Single Market, including that of reducing roaming charges further.

In a non-legislative resolution (P7_TA(2013)0377) in response to the proposal, the EP has called for all mobile roaming fees for calls, texts and data to be ended by 2015. Similarly, the European Council adopted conclusions on the Digital Agenda for Europe at its meeting on 24 and 25 October 2013, providing guidance towards the completion of the Digital Single Market by 2015. If adopted, this new proposal would push roaming premiums out of the market (i.e. incoming call charges while travelling in the EU would be banned from 1 July 2014) and foresee no more international call premiums within Europe (i.e. companies would not charge more for a fixed intra-EU call than they do for a long-distance domestic call and mobile intra-EU calls charges would be further reduced). Therefore closing the gap between roaming and national tariffs.



  • Impact assessment Connected Continent SWD (2013) 331 final: Accompanying the document Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012
  • Impact assessment SEC (2011) 870 final: Impact assessment of policy options in relation to the Commissions’s Review of the functioning of regulation (EC) No 544/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on roaming on public mobile telephone networks within the Community.
  • Impact assessment SEC(2006)925: Impact assessment of policy options in relation to a Commission proposal of a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on roaming on public mobile networks within the Community
  • International Roaming BEREC Benchmark Data Report July 2012 – March 2013, from 16/09/2013 : The latest report prepared in compliance with Article 19(4) of the Roaming Regulation, which requires BEREC to collect data regularly from the National Regulatory Agencies (NRAs) on the development of retail and wholesale charges for voice, SMS and data roaming services. For all of the other reports to date, see this link.
  • BEREC International Roaming Compliance Report (Regulation (EU) No 531/512 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2012 on roaming) from 30/09/2013: provides information on the level of compliance by the mobile operators across the EU EEA area with the provisions set out in the 2012 Roaming Regulation (3rd Roaming Regulation)
  • Eurobarometer – roaming mobile communications, 2011: The Special Eurobarometer on roaming revealed that about three out of four Europeans using a mobile phone continued to limit their mobile voice calls abroad concerned about the costs.
  • Latest articles on roaming, Euractiv, 2013.
  • Kroes stands firm in roam charges fight, FT Online, 6 October 2013
  • Domestic regulators criticise EU telecoms reform plans, FT Online, 17 September 2013
  • EU telecoms regulation: more bark than bite, FT Online, 15 September 2013

EC documentation

  • EC Infographic: New Roaming Plan 2013
  • SPEECH/13/484 of Neelie Kroes, Vice-president of the European Commission to the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee, European Parliament on 30/05/2013, entitled: The politics of the completing the telecoms single market
  • SPEECH/13/787 of Neelie Kroes, Vice-president of the European Commission at the FT-ETNO Summit ‘One Single Telecom Market for Europe?, 8th of October 2013 in Brussels
  • Digital Agenda for Europe target 101 for roaming, where ‘the difference between roaming and national tariffs should approach zero by 2015’.
  • Summary table of the roaming tariffs: showing what the regulations have brought about to date and the Mobile roaming costs information in the EC ‘Your Europe’ site.
  • What did the EU ever do for the mobile industry?: an EC short summary – MEMO/13/139 from 26/02/2013 on the main actions done in the mobile market.

 EP documentation

  • Committee ITRE/7/13786 report: European single market for electronic communications, 2013/0309(COD). (Awaiting committee decision)
  • Implementation Report on the regulatory framework for electronic communications2013/2080(INI)T7-0454/2013 (test adopted by EP first/single reading)
    Legislative Observer (OEIL) / 7th legislature (2009-2014);
    – Resolutions (‘roaming’ in text) :
    – Reports (‘roaming’ in text)
  • Parliamentary questions: 89 questions retrieved in the current legislature when doing a search on “roaming” and 72 when searching into the previous one (6th legislature)
  • Review of the roaming regulation, EP Policy Department A, 2008.

Council documentation

International views and other stakeholders

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