After a sharp reduction in roaming prices when travelling to EU countries, another major new development is coming – from 1 July, operators must provide the same quality of internet connection in other EU countries as for which users pay at home. This update to the European regulation comes based on findings that one third of tourists in the EU had slower internet connection speed than at home, and 28 per cent had their connection standard reduced when they crossed borders.
The updated EU Roaming Regulation brings one major innovation: from 1 July 2022, not only are mobile prices guaranteed to be the same as at home, but so is the quality of mobile services. Providers are no longer allowed to limit data speeds abroad, which has been a common practice until now. Data-intensive services such as streaming movies or video calls should therefore continue to be available abroad without any loss in the transmission quality.
The limitation is that in order to comply with this regulation, the same generation of technology must be available on the selected foreign mobile network as on the domestic network. The operator is obliged to do everything possible to provide you with an adequate 5G connection there. But if your selected network abroad only offers 3G, then your internet is still limited there. In this case, your mobile operator should inform you in your contract or on its website about how the data services at your destination differ technologically from those you use at home. To check the quality of the network on the spot, the EU provides an online tool called “netBravo”.
Consumers have sometimes incurred very high costs due to unintentional roaming on boats, planes or ferries. In most cases, they did not notice that their SIM card was automatically dialling a foreign satellite network, which resulted in extremely high bills when the software was automatically updated, for example. This has come to an end. From now on the operator is obliged to alert the consumer before connecting to a non-terrestrial network and not to make the connection automatically.
If you use your phone or apps with mobile data, you must be informed of potential charges and limits when you cross the border. Operators should automatically suspend mobile services if the bill for these services provided over non-terrestrial networks reaches €50 or other pre-determined limit.
If you reach your data limit, you can continue to receive roaming data volumes for a very small fee, which cannot exceed €2 per gigabyte plus VAT from 2022. This will gradually fall further to €1 in 2027.
The above and other rules are now in force in Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein too. There, bills for Czechs can be astronomically high.
This article appeared in dTest 09/2022.