Roaming, otherwise known as data roaming, was always one of the biggest problems when travelling, not just because you have to turn it on beforehand, but also because it is very expensive. Well, that is over. The European Commission has decided to get rid of data roaming starting July 1, 2014 so that calling, sending text messages, and accessing the Internet won’t bring additional charges inside the European Union countries.
Consumer associations have been constantly battling to get data roaming eliminated, in which, as they saw it, the big cell phone companies were unfairly taking advantage of the consumers’ situation. Up until now, each carrier charged an additional fee depending on which country of the EU the roaming connection was made in, which ended up making the cell phone bill a lot bigger, and caused problems when people tried to communicate from outside of their home country.
About 2% of the the total income of these large cell phone carriers comes from these fees, which they will lose in the next couple of months. It still isn’t clear how this measure will be implemented, but the agreement was unanimous among all the commissioners, and they have published a series of measures to alleviate the negative effect on the operators.
This reform is designed to reduce the effect of the poor management of telecommunications in Europe, which has less 4G coverage overall than Africa, for example, which has less mobile phones and yet is larger than Europe. On the other hand, the Commission indicated that because there are up to 100 different carriers in the region, which strikingly contrasts with the U.S. which has only four, will be a problem in the long term.