New laws requiring mobile networks to abolish roaming charges in the EU are expected to be approved on Tuesday, but a coalition of carriers has warned the average mobile bill may go up as a result.
European Commissioners will vote on whether to outlaw the ramped-up fees incurred when citizens use phones outside of their home nations, with any ruling to come into effect by the end of December 2015.
However, the roaming coalition, which represents 15 operators and virtual networks across the region, said domestic tariffs may see an increase as the networks seek to make up the loss of income.
"There is a risk that domestic tariffs for European consumers will increase," the coalition said which represents Three and Virgin Media in the UK.
"Roaming might not be subject to surcharges anymore, but the overall level of tariffs would increase, and non-roaming customers might effectively foot the bill for roaming customers."
Brits losing out
Should the legislation pass, (and an official verdict is expected on April 3), Brits would be able to travel abroad and make use of their own minutes, text and data allowances, rather than be greeted with a large bill upon their return home.
In July, new rules will come into place lowering the cost of wholesale roaming, cutting costs to 5 Euro cents per megabit of data/voice call and two cents per text message. However, Brits are currently forking out less than that when they travel abroad, meaning they'll pay more for travelling in southern Europe.
While July's move is considered a step forward, Brits won't feel the benefit until the proposed abolition comes in December of next year. But will the raising of domestic contracts put paid to any potential savings when we go abroad?
- Until the new laws come in, Three's 'feel at home' initiative is our best hope for avoiding roaming charges.