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S&D wants lower prices but same quality of mobile services when roaming in Europe


27 Sep 2021


Trade & Society

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament want cheaper roaming prices for mobile phone services when citizens are traveling in the European Union. They included this in a report, to be adopted today in the European Parliament’s committee on industry, research and energy. The S&D Group also strongly opposes the current practice of lowering the quality of provided services when roaming in the EU; for example by downgrading the internet connection from 4G to 3G when the operator in a member state detects his/her client is using mobile services in another member state of the EU for a longer period.

Róbert Hajšel, Slovak S&D member of the European Parliament and S&D negotiator on the issue of roaming, said:

“As roaming at domestic prices is, for Europeans, one of the most appreciated benefits of EU membership, then not only an extension of current rules, but further improvement of the quality of roaming services should be obvious. I am glad that we are going to remove existing barriers and obstacles, and get rid of any sort of discriminatory practices.

“We as the Socialists and Democrats managed to negotiate a strong position in the Parliament that clearly stands for the rights of our citizens. We want to increase the quality of provided services and make sure every European citizen has equal access to the latest generation of networks, emergency services and value added services, no matter where they come from, how long they stay abroad or which language they speak. Increasing data usage and latest technologies such as Internet of Things and M2M should also be reflected. 

“While abroad, our citizens should be entitled to the same services with the same quality as when using their mobile phone in their home country and any practices leading to a decrease in quality should be prohibited. Fair use policy should be a matter of the past. Our aim is to remove any obstacles and it is not acceptable that our citizens who benefit from free movement within the Union for work or personal purposes have to pay more if they stay abroad longer than the average.

“For example, currently when you travel from one member state to another, you may notice that after some time your 4G network connection is decreased to 3G; moreover, if the operator detects you stay abroad longer, you will not be entitled to the ‘Roam like at home’ rules and will have to pay standard roaming charges. This has to be changed.”

Dan Nica, Romanian MEP and S&D spokesperson on industry, research and energy, said:

“The Socialists and Democrats succeeded in negotiating new roaming rules for European citizens. The roaming rules are one of the most widely recognised EU success stories that puts European consumers first, keeps millions of citizens connected, and improves their lives.  

“Enabling access for European citizens to high-performance wireless broadband infrastructure at affordable prices across the EU is necessary. Therefore, we strongly pushed for the new rules to ensure telecom operators guarantee the same quality of service – for instance in terms of data speed – for consumers when using their phone in another EU country as at home.

“A lot has already been achieved, but we urge the European Commission to include the principle of ‘Roam like at home’ in future international agreements with our neighboring countries outside of the EU. In particular, European citizens and businesses in external border regions still face very high roaming fees when using mobile connections in third countries, and we strongly urge that such countries bordering European regions would benefit greatly from roaming provisions similar to those in the Union.  The practical result for Europeans will be that any EU citizen crossing the border with the UK, Moldova or Serbia for example, will not have to pay bills for their calls as if they are talking from the other end of the world.”

Note to the editor:

‘Roam like at home’ is a reality since 2017 and the current rules are valid until June 2022. Revision of the Roaming Regulation should enter into force on July 2022 and should extend current rules for the upcoming 10 years.