From this Thursday, 15th June, EU Mobile operators will no longer be able to charge customers for roaming within the European Union. Under new laws, those traveling in the EU will pay the same rate they would domestically for phone-calls, SMS and mobile internet.
The new ruling offers a number of potential benefits for businesses. It should result in a drastic reduction in mobile costs for those traveling abroad, and significantly reduce the risk of bill shock. Employees will now no longer need to weigh the excessive roaming costs against the potential business continuity losses of not being accessible to both colleagues and customers.
Despite the benefits, it’s important to remember the EU only makes up 28 of the 51 European countries, and that employees will have to pay roaming charges if they are traveling to (our through) for example Switzerland – or even just a bit too close to the border.You can find a full list of EU member countries here.
It also remains to be seen whether in 2019 this will still apply to UK customers (or those from the wider EU visiting the UK) following the its withdrawal from the European Union. As it stands, the United Kingdom's membership of the 'Digital Single Market' will be short-lived unless a favorable deal can be reached.
In addition, firms must ensure that their telecom vendors are sticking to the terms of the new laws. Earlier this year we wrote about a significant billing error from mobile operator EE, which resulted in customers roaming in Europe paying a significantly higher US roaming rate.
The EU ruling certainly represents progress in the demise of roaming costs, but remember it took 10 years of tackling roaming charges before a solution was reached for just 28 countries. Global businesses still need a system to track and manage roaming costs, thereby avoiding bill shock and ensuring they are being billed correctly.
MDSL's Telecom Expense Management solution allows employees to proactively request timely changes to their mobile plans, and can even build integrations to corporate travel management systems so you can ensure you are automatically on the right roaming bundle before you travel.