Cheaper to use the mobile phone when travelling within the EU
As of 1 July 2012, mobile phone calls, text messages and mobile data services will become cheaper when travelling within the European Union. The price reduction is based on a new EU Roaming Regulation which, inter alia, determines price caps for mobile communications services within the Union.
The retail price caps for mobile communications services within the EU from 1 July 2012 onwards will be
- €0.36 per minute for calls made when abroad (+ initial charging period of no more than 30 seconds)
- €0.10 per minute for calls received when abroad
- €0.11 per text message sent when abroad
- €0.86 per megabyte for a multimedia message sent or received when abroad.
There is no charge for receiving text messages. All the above prices include value added tax.
First price cap for mobile data
For the first time, the new roaming regulation also determines price caps for mobile data. As of 1 July 2012, the price cap for data services used abroad is €0.86 per megabyte. In addition, the price cap for previously-regulated wholesale charges which network operators in different countries charge one another will drop from €0.50 to €0.25 per megabyte.
Mobile data service means that you can download e-mail, websites, photos or movies to your mobile phone or other mobile device.
Examples of data transfer service prices within the Union:
- Downloading an e-mail without an attachment (1-20 kb) costs roughly €0.001–0.02
- Downloading a website on the internet (300 kbt–3 Mb) costs roughly €0.25–2.60
Price caps do not concern calls made from Finland to abroad
The price caps are in effect in the so-called roaming calls abroad, so they do not concern calls made from one's home country to abroad. Moreover, the prices are in effect only within the EU, so it is advisable to check the prices from your operator when travelling outside the EU.
The price caps are applied automatically to all customers, unless they have knowingly selected different roaming tariffs or package.
Operators are obliged to inform of the prices even abroad
Telecommunications operators must use an automatic message service to inform customers of mobile communications prices as they arrive to another country. As customers receive the message from the operator, they must be provided an opportunity to opt-out from such automatic message service. Telecoms operators must also inform their customers of how to avoid inadvertent roaming in border regions. Telecoms operators must also share information with their customers about automatic roaming data connections and how they are switched off.
Financial limit protects from bill shocks
Telecoms operators are obliged to provide their customers a financial limit service of about 60 euros, which guarantees that the consumption of mobile data (excluding multimedia messages) does not exceed the defined limit without the customer's consent. The service increases the consumers' possibilities to control surprising costs of mobile data usage when travelling abroad. The financial limit must also include the consumption of mobile data services used outside the EU, if the operator of the roaming network allows the monitoring of real-time consumption.
New Regulation promotes competition gradually
The effects of the new roaming regulation will be noticed by consumers gradually, because in addition to the reduced mobile communications service prices coming into effect now, in two years (from 1 July 2014 onwards), telecoms customers will be provided an opportunity to buy roaming services separately from a competing operator. Currently, telecoms operators' customers buy the services used in Finland and roaming services from their own telecoms operator.
The roaming Regulation coming into effect on 1 July 2012 will extend the regulation of roaming services all the way to 2022. The compliance with the Regulation is monitored by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA).
Mari Österberg, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 9 6966 306, +358 40 524 5368
Olli Honkkila, Legal Counsel, tel. +358 9 6966 330, +358 40 500 7914