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Data roaming has to end sooner than 2017. Let's make sure it happens

Data roaming has to end sooner than 2017. Let's make sure it happens

It's hotter in the UK than the Mediterranean right now.

But just as certain as the chorus of boos that follow whenever a rapper is booked for a headline slot at Glastonbury, you can bet it'll be raining with temperatures back down in the low 20s by the end of next week.

That, of course, means it's holiday time.

Many Brits heading to the continent this summer had expected to be paying standard rates for calls, texts and data while on the beach, but the European Union scrapped plans to end roaming charges in 2015 back in the spring.

Now, with millions getting ready to jet off, it turns out that charges won’t actually end for a little under two years, on June 15th 2017.

And even then, that’s just a proposal. It’s not binding and could mean EU changes its mind again.

eu commission

The European Commission has agreed proposals to slash rates to a quarter of their current levels by April 2016, with calls costing a maximum of five cents per minute and a megabyte of data costing the same. Texts will be no more than two cents.

While you could argue that networks are offering good deals to use your phone abroad, especially Three with its Feel At Home package, this simply is not good enough.

The EU is designed to protect consumers across the union, as well as businesses.

Some carriers in tourist–reliant countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and, especially, Greece, say they will be hit hard by the end of data roaming.

holiday roaming charges

They argue it’s a key issue when their economies are struggling.

That, however, is down to their profiteering approach to consumers for years.

Customers should not be made to pay for the fact that an industry that has been in need of a reality check for over a decade is finally being forced to stop treating travellers as cash cows.

The worry is that the networks will lobby the EU and the European Commission hard to once again move the deadline date for the end of roaming charges.

Consumer bodies simply don’t have the same financial clout and power. And with mobile and tablet use showing no sign of abating, holidaymakers are unlikely to put their phones away for a few days, even if it might do them the world of good.

bill shock roaming

What needs to happen is collective pressure from consumer bodies and politicians of all sides to bring a faster end to data roaming.

Because it isn’t just those heading off for a week of sun that are affected.

If you hop across the channel regularly on business, you too are going to be hammered hard with hefty bills. That means your company paying higher prices and potentially lower wages for you.

The campaign needs to start now. And it can’t let up until we all pay the same rate for calls, texts and data across the Union.

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