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European Commission publishes roaming fair usage rules

By September 7, 2016 No Comments

We are now less than 10 months away from one of the biggest shake ups in the European telecommunications industry. Roaming charges within the European Union will be scrapped as of June 2017 and the European Commission has just released the guidelines for the rules for getting rid of roaming charges. One of the biggest unknowns about this upcoming legislation change was about fair usage. What caps or restrictions were the EC willing to implement to curtail permanent roaming. This means buying the cheapest SIM in the EU and using that in your own separate country. 

This week the EC released its draft regulation for the roaming fair use policy. Some key take away from the regulations are as follows:

·         Cap of 90 days per year that a customer can use “roam like home” rates.

·         There is also a cap of 30 days on the number of consecutive days that a customer can avail of “roam like home” rates.

·         If you log off your home network and back on in one day, this does not count as a day’s roaming

·         For customers on unlimited tariffs, they are allowed to use the average usage for that tariff of all customers on the tariff. This enables operators to put a cap on usage when typically customers don’t have caps at home on these types of plans.

·         People who live near borders will be exempt from these rules

·         If operators have a negative margin of 5 percent on providing roaming. They can look to charge more if they can prove that this is the case


The fair usage charge outside of the above will be €0.04 per minute for calls, €0.01 per SMS and €0.85 per MB of data. The above regulations are subject to change but will aim to be implemented by 15th of December 2016.

Operators are going to have some challenges to get these updates implemented by June 2017.

·         Operators will have to continuously monitor the usage of their users on the length of time they are spending in and out of the home network. This will have to be run daily if not several times a day

·         They will have to keep monitoring the averages of usage on unlimited plans, how will this work for customers locked into plans, you cannot keep changing customer’s potential charges?

·         It will be tricky for operators to monitor customers who live near the border as customers will always be on the move


Not only are operators in the EU now losing out on revenue, (which consultancy firm, Deloitte forecasts to be €4.8 billion), they potentially have to invest in new capabilities to ensure their customers are not abusing their network. I feel that there will be more to come on this over the coming months until it’s fully implemented in December.

Download the latest Openet white paper on EU Roaming: Plugging the €4.8 billion revenue gap with new roaming revenue streams.