Travelling on holiday is an excellent chance to get away from the daily hassles of modern life. The sandy beaches, the historic architecture, and the mouth-watering cuisine recharges your spirit and lets you return home ready to face your responsibilities with a renewed vigour.

Unfortunately, when you return home, you are likely to face an exorbitant mobile phone bill, if you shared holiday photos with friends at home, or downloaded some videos to watch while waiting in long queues. This unfortunate circumstance of traveling abroad leaves mobile users searching for ways to reduce their mobile charges, which can be annoying, time-consuming, or leading to additional fees.

In June 2017, travellers will no longer return home to bill shock. The European Union has declared that mobile users will not incur any extra charges when travelling throughout the EU’s 28 states. This will give mobile travellers the freedom to stay in touch with both loved ones and business clients while exploring the European landscape.

New Legislation Brings Gradual Changes

The changes to mobile phone roaming rates will not happen all at once. Currently, roaming charges are capped at €0.19 per minute for phone calls, €0.06 per text message, and €0.20 per MB of data used. Starting in April of 2016, these charges will decrease to €0.05 for calls, €0.02 for texts, and €0.05 for data. While holiday goers will have to wait to see the benefits appear on their mobile phone bill, this additional time was included to give service providers a chance to adjust to the lower rates.

Some mobile companies will have to work hard to come up with new services that will bolster the income they normally would have made off of mobile roaming charges. Other companies already have reduced or free mobile roaming, like Three’s Feel at Home service, which gives customers free roaming in 18 locations throughout the EU.

Mobile Service Will Remain High Quality

With the proposed elimination of mobile roaming rates came the concern for excellent service. Legislators feared that mobile service providers would have to reduce the quality of their service or possibly throttle data use when roaming. Lower roaming rates would be futile if the service was so poor as to be unusable.

The new legislation  includes provisions to eliminate this potentiality. From June 2017, there will be no fast lanes or slow lanes when accessing websites on your mobile phone. Mobile providers will no longer be allowed to slow down or block access to any content, services, or apps as they see fit. Instead, the rules allow all Internet traffic to be accessed equally.

Mobile Customers Ultimately Benefit

With the new free roaming charges coming, customers are likely to see a lot of new mobile service options. Besides having the newfound ability to travel throughout Europe with no additional fees, mobile service providers will have the incentive to create new products that provide more value to their customers. This will make the mobile market more competitive overall, leading to better deals to sway customers to change providers.

However, there are some stipulations that mobile users need to remember. As part of the deal, you cannot purchase mobile service with a new SIM card in another country to take advantage of their rates. You must keep your service in the country that you live in. Also, the new roaming rules only apply in the EU, so roaming charges will remain the same in other countries. If you travel further afield, you will need to keep track of your mobile spending.

Holiday travellers will certainly welcome their new mobile freedom, as they share their vacation memories with friends and family back home. Small business owners who travel will be able to stay in contact with clients and suppliers, boosting their ability to operate while out of the country. Mobile providers may have the hardest time adjusting to the new changes, but with two years to come up with and implement a new business strategy, they will learn to appreciate a more competitive market. The new regulations will be a boon to all, and travelling with your mobile will no longer be a cumbersome ordeal.

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Stef Murphy

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