No more EU roaming fees: Here's what it means for Sweden

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No more EU roaming fees: Here's what it means for Sweden
Tourists using their mobile phones in Stockholm. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

As of June 15th, it's finally time to wave goodbye to those pesky and pricey roaming charges in Europe.


What are roaming charges?

These are the often astronomical extra charges added to the phone bills of holidaymakers for making calls, sending texts and using internet mobile data when in a foreign country.

The EU has now abolished these charges saying that customers must now be charged the same for using their mobile as they would in their home country, according to their phone contract. In other words, when you come to Sweden this summer, you'll pay the same rates as you do at home. And if you live in Sweden and go abroad in the EU, the same price plan applies. So in theory no more "phone bill shock" at the end of the holiday.

Travellers should receive a text when they arrive in the new country explaining the rules.

Is it free to use my phone abroad?

No. Charging people more to use their phones in the EU has been banned – not not charging them at all.

The idea is that mobile users can now "roam like at home" when travelling within the EU.

Some operators have scrapped roaming fees ahead of June 15th. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

But do I have to pay to receive a call?

No, those nasty charges have gone.

Three cheers for no more roaming! Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

And what about Swedish providers?

Many of the Swedish providers, and indeed providers in other parts of the EU, anticipated the change in the law which has been in the pipeline for a long time by scrapping them before the official date. Some tweaked their deals slightly at the same time, effectively raising the price both at home and abroad, so you may actually end up paying more or less the same at the end of the day as before the change.

People use their phone differently on holiday – sharing more often, taking more pictures, using maps, calling to check on each other or to let family and friends at home know how they're getting on. This means you are at a higher risk of going over your allowance.

Telia scrapped roaming fees in April, but has a limit of 20GB a month – if you want more than that you have to pay. Its deal to allow unlimited use of data on social media applies in the EU as well, so you can check Facebook without worrying about using up your data.

Tele2 allows you to roam like at home as long as you don't exceed 30GB a month.

Comviq allows a maximum of 8GB.

Tre has no upper limit on roaming in the EU, meaning that you may use the same data that you do at home (so if you have a 15GB contract, you get 15GB in any other EU country).

Telenor, which introduced free roaming last summer, lets you use the same data you use at home for most deals. If you have unlimited data the EU/EEA cap is 100GB a month.

Check with your provider what your new deal is. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

How will Brexit affect the changes?

This is on the long list of things to be negotiated in the Brexit deal although it's not likely to be a priority.

When they get round to it, the UK government will have the choice of following the new regulations because they haven't been written into UK law.

She could not be happier about the end to roaming fees. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

What if I'm an Erasmus student or working abroad for a long time?

The end of roaming charges is only designed for short-term travellers, not people living abroad for a long time. So a limit of four months per year has been included so if you are abroad longer than that per year, you can expect to be either notified by your provider or forced to pay extra.

So Erasmus students and those working abroad for a lengthy period of time are advised to buy a local sim card.

If you're studying abroad you should get a local sim card. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Does the scrapping of charges only apply to the EU?

European Union countries – as well as the European Economic Area (EEA) countries of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Travellers need to be careful about using their phones in some non-EU countries like Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, the Vatican City and Gibraltar as well as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which are not formally part of the EU or even the EEA. Country inclusion depends on your provider, so it's best to contact them directly.

This picture probably applies more to holidaymakers than business travellers, but you never know. Photo: AP Photo/Michael Probst

So this means my bills when travelling in the EU will be smaller?

In theory yes, although as mentioned above, be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking everything is free or spending all day on the internet as there are limits and charges will be applied above those limits (see above). Your mobile phone contract itself will probably go up, if it hasn't already, as providers look to make up for their losses elsewhere.

This plan has been in the pipeline for a long time. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Do the changes include people on pay-as-you-go deals?

Yes. It's a legal ruling so it applies everywhere in the EU – regardless of what sort of mobile deal you have. Once you step outside the EU then you have to check your individual contracts to see what applies.

Need to know more? CLICK HERE for a full list of frequently asked questions about EU roaming charges as answered by the EU itself.


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