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Good Guy EU – Abolishes Roaming Charges

Today, the EU Parliament voted to abolish mobile phone roaming charges. This is massive news and a very rare victory for consumers over corporations…

What it means

If you travel to Spain once a year on holiday, you can use your phone just like you would at home. You’ll be charged nothing extra. Even using data. If you’ve got unlimited data allowance at home, you’ve got unlimited data allowance within the EU. You can receive calls for free. You can make calls and texts from Spain to back home as they’ll come out of your monthly allowances as if you were at home…

It’s unclear at the minute what happens if for example you’re on a network that doesn’t have any presence abroad.. maybe there’ll have to be partnerships made or maybe you’ll be charged *something*, but it won’t be astronomical like it is at present.

The biggest change for me will be the shift in attitude that is gong to occur. We’re now going to fearlessly use features like Google Maps and Facetime when abroad. We’ll share more and communicate more when on the move. We won’t simply wait until we get back to our hotel’s free wi-fi to plan things and share photos. It will remove the fear factor.

Cat amongst the pigeons

Just a couple of weeks ago, I highlighted how we’re getting less value for money now than 4 years ago when it comes to phone contracts. Today’s announcement is going to cause massive headaches for mobile networks because it’s going to impact on their bottom line. Where they could rip us off before, they now won’t be able to do so… the days of 50c per mb of data transfer and worrying about phone usage abroad in Europe will soon be over. You can be sure the networks will protest and lobby everyone in sight to prevent this or at least delay it from happening but hopefully they won’t be successful.

Assuming this comes in by December 2015, the networks are gonna have to absorb the losses that this will cause or else raise the price of other things to make up for it. My money is on the latter so as consumers I don’t believe we’re ‘safe’ just yet, but this is a move that will definitely snooker mobile networks. They can raise contract prices, but that would only succeed if all networks were to engage in price fixing. What we may see happen is the price of pay as you go / short term contracts creep up slightly in a bid to push these people on to long term contracts and secure a more stable form of revenue from them, but again without some degree of price fixing, consumers can just switch to a cheaper option.

It will be interesting to see what moves they make and whether any government takes their side… EU Member states have to review and agree to this so we could see networks cosy up to governments over the next year or so…

Sean MacEntee

Web Developer. Technology Addict. Swimmer. Man Utd Fan. Writer. Designer.