We knew the day was coming, and it looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer, but the European Union has just voted to ban telecommunications companies from charging for roaming services as of mid-2017, including mobile phone calls, text (SMS) messages, and mobile web while roaming in the EU.
The new ban comes out of a process that started way back in 2012 and culminated in the approval of EU governments on October 1.
Simply put, this means if you own a business and roam in Europe, you’re going on vacation, or anything else in the 28-nation bloc, you’ll pay what you pay in your home country.
The exact date the ban occurs is June 15, 2017. Roaming fees are also capped starting April 30, 2016, so you won’t be charged in excess of 0.05 euro ($0.06) a minute for voice calls, 0.02 euro for text messages and 0.05 euro for each megabyte of mobile Internet use.
Net neutrality is also a part of the legislation, but not in the way you might think. Companies are going to be required to treat all traffic, no matter what the content consists of, equally.
The roaming cost ban is good news for all who do business in the area, whether you use your home carrier or you utilize one of the many international SIM cards, the latter of which may have a tougher time competing in a world with falling roaming costs.