On 8 February 2017 the ambassadors of EU Member States gave their endorsement to a deal on wholesale caps, setting the stage for an end to roaming charges in the European Union on 15 June this year. This was the final step in a 10 year process with the aim of ending roaming fees, finally Europeans will be able to travel across the continent and have the same connectivity as at home with no extra cost.
One of the stumbling blocks to ending roaming charges was tariffs operators charging each other when consumers call, text and surf in other EU countries. Thanks to new and significantly lower caps regulated by this agreement, mobile phone operators will be able to give consumers surcharge-free roaming without a corresponding hike in domestic prices. This, together with the retail fair use policy, help ensure the sustainability of the abolition of roaming charges throughout the EU.
Dr. Emmanuel Mallia, Malta’s Minister for Competitiveness and Digital, Maritime and Services Economy said: “Ending roaming fees is very good news for all Europeans. I am pleased that the Maltese Presidency has brought this file to a successful close. It is key to making further progress towards achieving a European Digital Single Market. Malta will be celebrating this achievement with its fellow EU member states on 15 and 16 of June during the Digital Assembly 2017 event, which will be held in Malta."
All that is left now is for the agreed text to undergo technical finalisation. It is expected to be approved by both the European Parliament in April and the Council in May. Following its adoption by both institutions, the text will be signed by both institutions by May, and will then be published in the EU Official Journal, entering into force three days later. The new regulations are scheduled to take effect on 15 of June 2017, and with that the abolition of retail roaming fees.