By now, the EU is used to being blamed and mocked for regulating all kinds of things. But when a ban on roaming charges enters into force today, Brussels can safely expect cheers from consumers across Europe.
Having gradually reduced roaming charges over the years, the EU is taking another step towards the completion of the internal market by removing the fees altogether. Of course, not everyone will be happy.
Before the first EU regulation on roaming charges was introduced ten years ago, telephone operators profited handsomely from Europeans using their phones to text, call or surf the web while in another European country. The European Commission estimates that the end of roaming charges will cost the operators $1.3 billion; Spanish giant Telefonica expects its revenue to drop by 1.2%.
The end of roaming charges will also have a significant effect in countries like Greece or Portugal. As the operators can no longer rely on the roaming charges for extra revenue to expand their networks, prices for consumers will likely rise.
David is the Europe team’s leader and senior editor. David has a background in EU financial and immigration legislation.