EC announces new rules to prevent roaming misuse

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Proposed time limits on surcharge-free roaming scrapped ahead of new plans to be introduced next year

The European Commission (EC) has today proposed redrafted rules to prevent roaming misuse in the EU

Commissioner President Jean-Claude Juncker ordered the proposal to be redrafted in his State of the Union Address last week. Initially the Commission proposed consumers be allotted 90 days of roaming per year, with a maximum of 30 consecutive days. Payments will still have to be made domestically.

The redrafted rules scraps the time limit, allowing consumers to use devices outside of their home market, despite conditions set by operators in EU member states.

Safeguard Mechanism

“Solid safeguard mechanism for operators against potential abuses” were also announced to counter individuals taking advantage of the limit scrap.

Operators will be allowed to check SIM cards that are used less domestically compared to roaming, inactive use, as well as use of multiple SIM cards by the same individual abroad. Surcharges will then be applied.

It prevents consumers from abusing the “Roam like at Home” mechanism.

The EC will allow operators to apply surcharges at the following rates: up to a maximum of €0.04 per call, €0.01 per text and €0.0085 per megabyte of mobile data. National regulators will handle complaints and compliances, such as Ofcom.

Exempted

Those who are deemed to have a “stable link” will not face surcharges. According to the EC, those who have a “stable link” to another state could include: work commuters, expats frequently in their home country and students on the Erasmus programme.

EU digital economy commissioner Gunther Oettinger said: “Today’s draft rules ensure we can end roaming charges as of 15 June 2017 for all people who travel periodically in the EU, while ensuring that operators have the tools to guard against abuse of the rules.”

The College of Commissioners will adopt the final proposal by December 15, 2016, following feedback from regulators, EU Member States and operators.

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