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Roaming Charges to be Scrapped in Europe

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Roaming Charges to be Scrapped in Europe

Selfie.

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Soon, Icelanders and other Europeans will be able to travel the continent with mobile phones in hand without having to worry about roaming charges, RÚV reports.

Roaming charges in Europe will be abolished from Thursday, June 15. Mobile phone users should be able to use their phones anywhere in the European Economic Area (EEA), which comprises the 28 European Union (EU) member states plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, without paying a higher fee for voice, text messages and data.

“The EU's ideal is that citizens of the EU, and by extension citizens of all the EEA countries, can go abroad with their mobile phone and use it just the same as if they were at home,” said Hrafnkell Viðar Gíslason, managing director of the Post and Telecom Administration in Iceland, in an interview with RÚV.

The abolition of roaming charges is, however, subject to certain limits, although ordinary users might not necessarily come up against them. Limits on the amount of data that can be downloaded before additional costs are incurred could be exceeded through extensive use of Netflix, Spotify and other data-heavy sites. “These limits should be quite generous, but they do exist and consumers are never guaranteed better services abroad than they get here in Iceland,” states Hrafnkell.

The regulatory framework includes a provision for the continued application of roaming charges, if telecom companies look set to lose money from the change. No Icelandic telecom companies have applied for such a provision, says Hrafnkell, as it is not certain that the abolition of roaming charges will lead to losses. The measure should promote cohesion in Europe.

“Telecommunications are one of the main priorities of the European Commission to achieve a connected continent, and this measures relates to the ordinary citizen, who should still feel as if he is within the union, if not necessarily his own country, when using his mobile phone abroad,” stated Hrafnkell.

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