From Saturday you'll pay a lot less to roam in the EU

From Saturday you'll pay a lot less to roam in the EU

If you're heading to Europe for your summer holiday this year you might want to turn data roaming on, as it's going to cost you a lot less to use your smartphone than in previous years.

That's because from Saturday, April 30 a wave of new European Union (EU) regulations come into effect, dramatically reducing the amount you'll pay when roaming in member countries.

Just how much will you be paying from April 30? Well the EU set out a price guide of 3p per minute, 1p per text and 3p per MB of data when it announced the news – although those prices exclude VAT, so expect a couple of extra pence to be added to them.

To give you a comparison, Three UK's rate will drop from 16.6p per minute, 5.2p per text and 17.4p per MB to 4.3p per minute, 1.5p per text and 4.3p per MB on April 30.

From low to zero

While a reduction is price is welcome, things will get even better from June 15, 2017, when all roaming charges in the EU will be abolished. That means you'll be able to travel to the likes of Spain, France and Italy and not pay any extra for your minutes, text or data.

It won't necessarily be totally free, but your carrier is likely to allow you to use your bundled allowances when abroad, or give you a separate bundle of minutes, texts and data to use when roaming.

For those wondering what would happen if the UK was to leave the EU, the no-roaming charges regulations should still stand, at least for a few years.

Update: Tesco Mobile has confirmed it's ditching roaming chargers altogether in 31 European countries between May 23 and September 3 2016, with its "Home from Home" service giving users a taste of things to come from June next year.

Customers will be able to take their minutes, texts and data allowances with them, ensuring there's no extra cost.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.