The Western Balkans become a roaming free zone: the “Roam Like at Home” regime starts on 1 July with the support of the EU
Today, the “Roam Like at Home” regime in the Western Balkans enters into force. From 1 July, all roaming costs within the region will be eliminated. This is a historic achievement of cooperation amongst the telecom Ministries and Independent Regulators of the region, supported by the European Commission, and a stepping-stone in the digital transformation of the region. In 2019, the Western Balkan leaders signed the Regional Roaming Agreement in Belgrade and committed to eliminating roaming charges within the region, in a bid to improve connectivity and bring tangible benefits of the regional agenda to the citizens and businesses alike. The first phase of the implementation, introduced on 1 July 2019, gradually reduced the roaming charges by over 80%, and has led to a significant increase in data traffic in the entire Western Balkan region. The European Commission has fully supported this process, which was facilitated by the Regional Cooperation Council, with the assistance of the Body of European Regulators, BEREC. Setting up a roaming free zone is also a significant step of the Western Balkans in aligning with the EU Digital Single Market principles and practices, which the Common Regional Market agreed by the Western Balkan leaders in the Sofia Summit under the Berlin process, in November 2020 will further support. The next step will be the preparation of a roadmap for the reduction of roaming charges between the EU and the Western Balkans.