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Roaming fees to end

Mobile service providers may fill the gap by charging for other services.

(Source: AP/TASR)

Customers across the European Union will be able to use mobile services abroad without paying extra charges to operators as of next summer. The roaming fees will be scrapped after several years of delay. Some telecommunication companies admit the measure will impact their revenues, though the effects may be only minimal, analysts say.

People can already pick some programmes allowing them to avoid paying roaming fees when travelling abroad, but these concern only voice and text message services and not data, says Ondrej Macko, editor-in-chief of the TouchIt.sk website. Data roaming still poses a problem, as people can pay a lot for it.

“The operators are preparing for a situation in which the conditions in any EU country will be the same as in Slovakia,” Macko told The Slovak Spectator.

Mobile providers respond

Roaming fees in the EU have been gradually declining since 2007. The original plan was to scrap them in December 2015, but this was later postponed to June 15, 2017.

Meanwhile, Brussels capped roaming fees at 5 cents per minute for making calls from abroad, 2 cents for text messages and 5 cents per megabyte of data as of April 30, 2016. In addition, it banned mobile providers from limiting the access of their customers to the internet abroad. Under the new rules, the fees are added to the sum charged by the mobile providers in customers’ home countries, the Sme daily reported back in May.

Several mobile providers in Slovakia responded to the changes by introducing new post-paid packages of services.

What programmes without roaming fees mobile providers offer? What changes are planned for countries outside the EU?

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