Roaming costs across the EU and EFTA set to tumble as EU ‘roam like at home’ regulations launch

June 14, 2017  | Subscribers Only

Seth Wallis-Jones Seth Wallis-Jones Principal Analyst, Telecommunications
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The EU launched ‘Roam Like at Home’ on 15th June with the implementation of ‘Regulation No. 2015 / 2120’, which introduced elements of the ‘Digital Single Market’ to the statute book. Approved in November 2015 this aimed to ban international roaming charges within the 28 countries of the EU plus the three markets of the EEA by 15 June 2017, impacting on some 672 million mobile subscriptions (IHS Markit). Wholesale rates for mobile data will also be reduced from €0.05 per MB to €0.077 per MB as the start of an annual reduction in wholesale roaming charges. The surcharge that had been effectively allowing operators to charge up to the wholesale rate for roaming data will be removed on data within existing caps, or to a limit that leaves operators with liabilities up to twice the value of the users’ bundle tariff.  Where the price of data domestically paid by prepay users who are charged per unit used is less than the wholesale rate, then the cost while roaming is capped at the wholesale domestic rate. In addition, a global cap on data charges - ‘bill shock protection’ - has been set at €50. Applicable worldwide the cap will stop data downloads once that cost has been reached, unless specifically opted out of by the user. 


  • New wholesale caps and ‘Roam Like at Home’ regulations come into force on 15 June 2017
  • The wholesale roaming data price cap will apply directly to prepaid users and set the limits for postpaid users Fair Use Policy
  • However caps on ‘Roam Like at Home’ are set generously and moderately priced and unlimited data tariffs will leave operators exposed to data costs twice the total bundle tariff
  • Volume limitations do not apply to voice and SMS as risks of abuse are seen to be lower
  • Rules will be reviewed every two years and an interim report into the impact of the regulations is due by December 2018

In this report:

  • New regulatory structure caps roaming costs for consumers
  • Fair use policies limit operator exposure to liabilities - which can exceed tariff revenues
  • Exceptions can be sought
  • Impact analysis
  • Additional Points

Tables and charts:

  • Wholesale Roaming Rates
  • Example Bundles and Roaming Costs to Operators
  • Mobile ARPU by country
  • Mobile Subscribers by Country (inc. forecast)

Number of pages: 5

Number of tables and charts: 4

Seth Wallis-Jones

Principal Analyst, Telecommunications

Seth Wallis-Jones, a principal research analyst at Omdia, covers operator strategies for the Service Providers and Platforms team.

Research by Market
Mobile & Telecom
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