Roam for less in the EU from 15 June 2017 - You only pay the domestic price or a small surcharge

The new EU roaming rules mean that a large number of customers can use roaming services at the domestic price without any surcharges. However, roaming surcharges will still apply to some subscriptions. There is a regulated price cap on the roaming surcharge.

Under the new EU regulation, customers travelling in the EU pay domestic prices for roaming (RLAH = Roam-Like-At-Home). In principle, there are no additional roaming surcharges when travelling periodically. However, operators may levy surcharges if they are authorised to do so or if the customer's data consumption exceeds the fair use volume limit specified in the operator's contract.

FICORA may also grant the operator an authorisation to apply a roaming surcharge in Europe. FICORA must grant the authorisation if the operator has established that it is unable to cover its costs of providing roaming services with the corresponding revenues and that the sustainability of its domestic charging model is therefore undermined. This exception aims to ensure that there will be large low-cost packages with unlimited data available in Finland in the future, as well. The following operators have applied for and received an authorisation to apply a surcharge:

  • DNA
  • Elisa
  • Telia
  • Moi Mobiili

Furthermore, operators can restrict the usage of data services without surcharges to a fair volume. This fair use volume limit may be applied on subscriptions with unlimited data and low-cost limited packages without any authorisations by FICORA.

If the operator has been authorised to apply surcharges as mentioned above, it does not have to set a fair use volume limit. This means that you will always pay a surcharge in addition to the domestic price. The surcharge specified in the authorisation granted by FICORA varies between operators but it cannot exceed the general regulated maximum charge. The operator is not obliged to apply surcharges even if it was authorised to do so. The authorisation granted to an operator may require, as specified in the operator’s application for the authorisation, that it also offers subscriptions at the domestic price or roaming included in the domestic price for its subscriptions.

You can check the roaming terms and conditions and tariffs applied to your subscription from your operator.

FICORA's press release of 15 June 2017: Four operators authorised to apply roaming surcharges

Fair use volume limit for mobile data

In some cases, operators can restrict the usage of data without surcharges in the EU and EEA countries to a fair volume. This means that the operator applies a surcharge only to the usage exceeding the fair use volume limit. The surcharge applied to the usage exceeding the fair use volume limit is capped to a regulated maximum charge currently in force.

Under EU regulation, the minimum fair use volume limit is normally determined based on the price of the subscription, that is, in cases where the operator is not authorised to apply surcharges. Your operator may also set the fair use volume limit to be higher than the minimum limit.

If FICORA has authorised the operator to apply surcharges, depending on the case, the operator may offer a fair use volume limit that is lower than normally, or not offer a fair use volume limit at all. If no authorisation is granted, the usage of mobile data at the domestic price may only be restricted to the fair use volume limit in cases of unlimited subscriptions or low-cost limited subscriptions.

The minimum fair use volume limit is normally calculated by dividing the price of the subscription (excluding VAT) by the regulated maximum wholesale charge and multiplying the result by two. This formula is applied to cases where the operator is not authorised to apply surcharges. The regulated maximum wholesale charge is the price which operators within the EU member states pay to each other for roaming services.

  • For instance, the minimum fair use volume limit of a package costing EUR 30 per month (including VAT) is around 6.3 gigabytes per month if the valid maximum wholesale charge is EUR 7.7/gigabyte (excluding VAT).

Other restrictions for fair use

Your operator sends you a notification if:

  • you have spent more time in other EU or EEA countries than Finland during the last four months, and
  • you have used more roaming services than domestic services during this time.
If you do not change your usage pattern within two weeks, you may have to pay a surcharge. The operator can also send you notifications in some other exceptional cases.
You may also have to pay a surcharge if your operator has requested you to submit evidence that you normally reside or have other stable links with Finland and you have failed to do so. Such stable link may be, for example, a full-time employment relationship or full-time studying in Finland.

Commission implementing regulation (EU) 2016/2286 on fair use policy 
Maximum roaming charges as from 15 June 2017

Customers travelling in EU countries can use mobile communication services either at the domestic price or against a small surcharge added to the domestic price. A surcharge may be applied if:

  • FICORA has granted the operator an authorisation to apply surcharges
  • your data consumption exceeds the fair use volume limit determined by the operator
  • you use roaming services more than domestic services and spend more time travelling than in Finland
  • you have not submitted evidence that you normally reside or have other stable links with Finland even though your operator has requested you to do so.
Domestic prices mean the unit prices applied to a domestic subscription in the customer's home country. If there are no unit prices, the prices are determined similarly as when using the services in the customer's home country. For example, a fixed-cost domestic subscription package also includes the domestic price of roaming services.

Maximum roaming surcharges as from 15 June 2017 (including VAT):

MAXIMUM SURCHARGE
CALLS MADE EUR 0.03968 / call minute
CALLS RECEIVEDEUR 0.013392 / received call minute
TEXT MESSAGES EUR 0.0124 / text message
MOBILE DATA EUR 9.548 / gigabyte

If the domestic price is a unit price, there is also a maximum charge which the unit price and surcharge combined shall not exceed.

  • For calls made, the maximum charge is EUR 0.2356 / call minute
  • For calls received, the maximum charge is EUR 0.0141 / call minute
  • For text messages, the maximum charge is EUR 0.0744 / text message
  • For mobile data, the maximum charge is EUR 0.248 / megabyte

Your operator may also apply a surcharge that is lower than the maximum charge.

Multimedia messages sent or received abroad cost the same as data usage per megabyte.

Receiving text messages is free of charge. Receiving voice mail within the EU is free of charge. However, listening to voice mail messages is subject to a charge.

Calls are charged per second, excluding making calls which are subject to the operator's initial charging period of no more than 30 seconds.

Mobile data is charged per kilobyte. The maximum charge for mobile data decreases year by year so that it reaches EUR 2.5/gigabyte in 2022. This means a step by step reduction in the prices of using mobile data.

Roaming charges are applied automatically to all customers within the EU, unless they have knowingly selected different roaming tariffs or packages. Your operator may also offer you alternative roaming tariffs. Changing tariffs must be free of charge and it cannot include conditions or restrictions on concerning other parts of the contract, besides roaming.

Contact your operator's customer service for detailed price information. Operators send their customers a text message of the applicable rates when they arrive in a new country.

Roaming fees are not applied to calls made from Finland to abroad

Roaming fees are only applied to roaming services used abroad which means that that they do not concern calls made from the caller's own country to abroad. Moreover, these prices are in effect only within the EU, so it is recommended to check the prices from your operator when travelling outside the EU.

Roaming prices are applied automatically to all customers within the EU, unless they have knowingly selected different roaming tariffs or packages.

Financial limit protects from bill shocks

Operators are obliged to provide their customers with at least one financial limit which is not higher than roughly EUR 60. The financial limit guarantees that the consumption of mobile data (excluding multimedia messages) does not exceed the defined limit without the customer's consent. The service increases consumers' opportunities to control unexpected 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 network operator of the country that you visit allows the monitoring of real-time consumption. Operators must also inform their customers if it is not possible to obtain data on the consumption of mobile data services used outside the EU.

Read more about financial limits

Automatic message notifies about roaming fees

When customers travel to foreign roaming areas, their own operator informs them of the prices of mobile communication services by sending automatic messages.

The text message includes the basic information on prices of

  • making calls within the country you visit and from that country to your own country
  • receiving calls
  • sending text messages within the EU
  • mobile data services
  • mobile communication services provided outside the EU.

In addition, the text message contains a free number for requesting additional information and a reminder of the free emergency number 112. The text message must also contain instructions on how customers can stop receiving the automatic price messages.

Operators must also inform their customers, if necessary, of how to avoid inadvertent roaming in border regions. Operators must also notify their customers about automatic roaming data connections and how they are disabled.

The customers' own operator must send them the basic price information on data services as soon as they connect to a data service in the network of another EU country. The basic price information may be sent to a mobile phone or other mobile device by text message, email or via a pop-up window on the customer's computer.

Links

Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union, with amendments

Commission implementing regulation (EU) 2016/2286 on fair use policy

* Member countries of the EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom Besides the EU countries, the regulations on pricing of roaming services apply to Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Key words: Telephone , Mobile phone , Roaming , Tariffs

Updated 04.08.2017

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