Five questions on: Mobile phone roaming charges


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Aren't they being scrapped?

Yes, they are. The European Commission announced this week that from June 2017 mobile users will pay the same price for calls, texts and data use wherever they are in the EU.

But haven't charges already been cut?

They were capped last July, but they're still likely to give holidaymakers a shock. The biggest charges hit internet usage: a megabyte of data downloaded abroad will set you back €0.20, around 16p. However, all mobile operators have to apply a cut-off limit once you have used €50 (excluding VAT) – around £40 – of data per month, so the days when bills stretched into hundreds of pounds are thankfully behind us.

What about phone charges?

If you make a call in the EU it's €0.19 a minute – around 15p – while receiving a call is €0.05 a minute, about 4p. A 10-minute call would therefore cost you around £1.50 while if you were then called back for a 10-minute chat, you'd be hit by a further 40p charge. Bear in mind that you'll be charged VAT at 20 per cent on top of the phone charges. So making just five 10-minute calls while on holiday would end up costing you around £18.

Aren't they due to be cut next year, too?

Roaming charges are due to become cheaper from April next year, when operators will only be able to charge an additional 3p a minute to calls, 1p to each text, and 3p per MB of data, although the new limits do exclude VAT.

How can I ensure I don't get hit this year?

Turn off data roaming on your phone so you don't get hit with unnecessary charges and only use the internet abroad when you can get free wi-fi. Then check out your supplier's overseas bundles. Most offer data packages for around £3-£5 a day. Bear in mind that while data usage charges are now capped, calls and texts aren't. If you're planning to make a lot of local calls while abroad, to book taxis or restaurants for example, get a local SIM for your phone when you arrive.

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