The day has recently arrived. After years of phased of reductions, and gradual moves, on the 15th of June, roaming charges were banned across the EU, so you can use your phone in any EU country without paying additional charges for calls or data. You just pay the standard amount you would at home.
This is a huge boon to business travellers and holidaymakers, but there are some hidden strings attached you need to be aware of to make sure your bill holds no nasty surprises at the end of your trip.
Switzerland isn’t in Europe
Check your destination before you travel. Some countries are geographically very much in Europe, but not part of the European Union or the European Economic Area. This means they aren’t bound by the EU ‘Roam Like at Home’ legislation that has abolished roaming charges, and if you stray into them, you’ll be subject to big fees for using your phone.
It’s a confusing area, as different countries have different relationships with the EU even when they aren’t in the Union. For example, France, Germany and Italy are in the European Union and so you can use your phone there without any penalty. Norway isn’t in the EU, but the agreements that allow it to trade with the EU mean it has to accept many of the EU’s regulations, including ‘Roam Like at Home’.
Switzerland, meanwhile has a series of bilateral agreements allowing it work with the EU (fortunately, as it’s surrounded by the Union at every border), but which don’t oblige it to work accept every EU regulation so trying to use your data there will see you hit with big charges.
Similarly the Isle of Man is a British Crown Dependency, and near the geographical centre of the British Isles, but it’s independently governed, and sits outside the EU. This makes it popular as a banking hub but also somewhere you can’t use your phone without additional charges.
If you’re traveling and aren’t certain your destination is in the EU, check with your network provider to find out their policy on charges for that country, to make sure you are getting the best deal.
And if you find yourself in need of extra airtime when you’re traveling you can use a secure overseas top up service like Senditoo to get the extra credit you need, wherever you are in the world.