End of roaming charges in June 2017: Commission defines fair use policy

As foreseen in the rules to end roaming charges in June 2017 (press release), the Commission today presented a draft for an implementing act defining different measures to make it work properly. The specific parameters include a fair use policy preventing abusive usages: for example, if the customer buys a SIM card in another EU country where domestic prices are lower to use it at home; or if the customer permanently stays abroad with a domestic subscription of his home country. Such situations could have a negative impact on domestic prices, and ultimately on all consumers. Based on the results of a public consultation, the Commission proposes an approach in line with the needs of Europeans: customers should be able to roam at domestic prices for a total of at least 90 days per year. Frontier workers who log on at home every day cannot be considered to be engaged in anomalous, permanent roaming. For open mobile phone bundles (i.e. those which have unlimited or very high volumes) roaming customers should be able to consume at domestic prices at least the average volume consumed by users on the bundle. Beyond fair use policy, a mobile operator may apply a surcharge not exceeding the corresponding wholesale roaming caps. However, such situations would be very limited due to the proposed fair use policy. The Commission has proposed EUR 4 cents/min, 1 cent/SMS, 0,85 cents/MB as wholesale roaming caps – still to be adopted by the Parliament and Member States in the current wholesale roaming review. Today’s draft for an implementing act will be discussed with Member States following consultations with the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) before the Commission can adopt the implementing act by 15 December this year.