Can I use my mobile phone in the European Union?
Understanding Roaming Charges
If you are planning a trip to the European Union and wondering if you can use your mobile phone there, the answer is yes. However, using your phone in the EU may come with some additional costs known as roaming charges. These are fees you pay to use your mobile network while outside your home country.
Roaming charges became a concern with the increased use of smartphones, as these devices use data even when we are not actively using them. They continuously update various apps, download emails and receive messages. This automatic data use can result in unexpected charges when abroad.
The End of Roaming Charges in the EU
Since June 2017, people travelling within the EU no longer have to worry about these extra charges. In a bid to create a "Digital Single Market", the EU abolished roaming charges for all people using mobile phones within the EU's 28 member countries. This means that you can call, text and use data on your mobile device at the same price you pay at home.
However, it's important to note that this applies to temporary stays. If you're planning to stay in another EU country for a long period of time, you should check with your network provider to understand their Fair Use Policy.
Exceptions to 'Roam at Home'
There are a few exceptions to the EU's 'Roam at Home' initiative. For example, if you have an unlimited or extremely cheap mobile data package at home, your operator may apply a limit on data usage abroad. They should inform you in advance if this is the case.
Also, the rule does not apply to making calls from your home country to another EU country. These international calls will have their separate charges unless your contract includes them.
Effect of Brexit on UK Mobile Users
The UK’s departure from the EU, also known as Brexit, has raised questions about whether British travelers will still benefit from the 'Roam at Home' facility. The good news, at least for now, is that most UK operators have expressed their intention to keep roaming in the EU at no extra cost.
However, there's no legal requirement for UK operators to maintain free roaming after Brexit. Therefore, it's advised to check with your operator before you travel to understand any changes in roaming charges.