Roaming free of charge in EU and EEA. Credit: European Parliament/Twitter

End of roaming charges for EU students abroad

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EU Roaming charges
“All extra roaming charges cease to exist,” for the EU and EEA. Credit: European Parliament/Twitter

EU students with SIM cards from their home country can now use their phone free of charge within the 28 member states, the European Parliament announced this week.

New students of Stirling and visiting families will be able to use their usual phone around the country free of charge as they settle into university.

The new EU phone plan allows for free sending of SMS, calls and cellular data, applying the same conditions of the user’s domestic phone plan.

The reform, in the works since 2015, also applies to residents of the European Economic Area (EEA), meaning Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein.

The “abolition of roaming charges” is applied with the EU’s ‘principle of fair use’.

Based on the ‘principle of fair use’, if a citizen spends “more time using your phone at home than you do in another EU country, you will be able to roam like at home’.”

This principle was put in place to ensure cheaper phone plans would not be purchased abroad to avoid higher costs in the country of residence.

Spanish EPP and Parliament negotiator Pilar del Castillo said, “Thanks to the determination of the European Parliament… We can travel through Europe without being worried about bill shock when we come back home.”

This reform has been fought for by EU institutions since 2007, when call charges abroad were first capped at €0.49/minute, and 1MB of data cost €6. Costs have decreased since.

The European Parliament has clarified that users will receive an SMS from their network provider, to confirm the removal of costs abroad. Personal policies made by the phone service will be stated in detail in the messages.

Network providers automatically applied the update on charges, allowing for travellers to use their phone abroad worry-free since Thursday, 15th June 2017.

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