Holidaymakers rejoice! A ban on roaming charges across the European Union (EU) has come into force today (June 15th).
So if you’re off for a sunny break in an EU member state and want to upload pics of your hot dog legs to Instagram straight away, you won’t need to pay extra for the privilege.
The new rules mean that citizens travelling within the EU will be able to call, text and go online on their mobile devices and pay exactly the same rate as they would at home.
Of course, you’d still get charged if you exceeded your data allowance, but that’s something that can be easily prevented if you want to avoid a nasty surprise when you check your bill afterwards.
Officials in Brussels are particularly excited about the new change in the law, hailing the elimination of roaming charges as “one of the greatest and most tangible successes of the EU”.
In a statement, the European Commission said the EU was designed to bring people together and make their lives easier.
This, it said, means the end of roaming charges can be seen as “a true European success story”.
“Over the last ten years, our institutions have been working hard together to fix this market failure,” the Commission said.
“Each time a European citizen crossed an EU border, be it for holidays, work, studies or just for a day, they had to worry about using their mobile phones and a high phone bill from the roaming charges when they came home.
“Roaming charges will now be a thing of the past. As of tomorrow, you will be able to remain connected while travelling in the EU, for the same price as at home.”
The Commission acknowledged that this change has been a “long time coming”, but said the EU has ultimately delivered a “concrete, positive result for European citizens”.
“We are proud that the EU has put an end to very high roaming prices and thankful to those who showed the determination to overcome the many challenges and pursue this goal,” it said.
Nevertheless, consumers are being urged by comparethemarket.com not be “lulled into a false sense of security”.
Peter Earl, head of utilities at the comparison site, said: “Different providers include different countries in their roaming territories, so data usage in some areas, including those outside the EU, could still be costly, so it’s important to check this before you go.”
Plenty of people will also be wondering whether or not to get used to the lack of roaming fees as Brexit looms.
Of course, the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU haven’t yet been agreed, and for now, the country remains a fully-fledged member state.
So all we can do regarding the question of Brexit is simply wait and see. But for now at least, you can enjoy a holiday in the EU free of roaming charges.
Just make sure you stay within your data allowance and check your contract before heading overseas, so you know which countries are part of your provider’s roaming bundle.