Roaming regulation review
In “A Europe Fit for the Digital Age”
On 29 January 2020, the European Commission's new work programme was published. Under the second priority - 'A Europe fit for the digital age', the Commission announced its intention to launch a review of the roaming Regulation (EU) 2017/920 which was adopted in June 2017 and which expires in June 2022. As a first step, a public consultation took place between 19 June and 11 September 2020. Before, on 29 November 2019, the Commission had published its first review of the roaming market, showing how citizens across the EU benefited from the end of roaming charges, by being able to use their mobile phones at no extra cost when travelling throughout the EU. To ensure that citizens can continue to enjoy roaming without additional charges when travelling in the EU, the Commission proposed on 24 February 2021 a new roaming regulation. The new regulation prolongues the current rules that expired in 2022, for another 10 years. It also ensures better roaming services for travellers. For example, consumers are entitled to have the same quality and speed of their mobile network connection abroad as at home, where equivalent networks are available. The new rules also secure efficient access to emergency services, including improving awareness about alternative means for people with disabilities, as well as increase consumer awareness on possible fees from using value-added services while roaming.
The Commission presented the legislative proposal before the lead Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) on 18 March 2021. Some Members welcomed the proposed extension of the EU Roaming Regulation until 2032 but made several critical remarks about the level of the wholesale charges.
The rapporteur presented her draft report to the ITRE committee on Thursday 17 June 2021. On 14 July 2021 the IMCO committee published its opinion. On 16 September 2021 the legal affairs committee published its opinion on the recast technique.
The ITRE committee adopted its report on 14 October 2021, together with the mandate to start interinstitutional negotiation, which was then confirmed in plenary on 20 October 2021 October. In this report, the EP was in favour of significantly lowering wholesale data roaming caps, especially regarding data. The EP also called to increase obligations for operators to inform users on the expected quality of service levels and asked BEREC to assess the regulatory framework on an ongoing basis, to ensure access to 5G and future networks and technologies.
At the Council, following discussions on 9 June 2021 the Presidency proposed further changes mostly in the areas of the quality of service (Articles 3 and 5, Recital 14, 15 and 28) and the data roaming wholesale prices (Article 12). As regards the prices, the Presidency proposed to slightly adjust the caps upwards and to add an additional decrease moment in the glide path in relation to the Commission's proposal.
The first trilogue negotiation meeting took place on 26 October 2021. During the third trilogue, on 9 December 2021, an interinstitutional agreement was reached. According to it, the Roam Like at Home is extended for another ten years until 2032 while the wholesale data cap is capped at €2 per Gigabyte (GB) from 2022 progressively down to €1 in 2027. As asked by the European Parliament, consumers can enjoy the same experience in terms of quality of service (such as speed) and access to free of charge emergency services while abroad. The Commission will have to assess whether it is necessary to reduce in the future price caps of intra-EU communications.
The provisional agreement was endorsed by the Parliament on 24 March 2022 and by the Council on 28 March 2022. The regulation was officially signed by both institutions on 6 April 2022 and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 13 April 2022. The regulation entered into force on 1 July 2022.
- EP Legislative Observatory, Procedure file on a Regulation on roaming. Recast, 2021/0045(COD)
- European Commission, Proposal for a regulation on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (recast), COM(021)85
- European Commission, Adjusted Commission Work Programme 2020 A Union that strives for more, COM(2020) 440
- European Commission, Report on the review of the roaming market, COM(2019) 616
- European Parliament, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy report on on the proposal for a regulation on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (recast), 2021/0045(COD)
- Council, Position on the Proposal for a Regulation on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (recast), 9867/21
- Council, press release, Mobile roaming with no extra fees to continue, following Council approval, 4 April 2022
- European Economic and Social Committee, Opinion on Review of the Roaming Regulation, EESC-2021-01368-AS
- Regulation 2022/612 of the European Parliament and of the Council on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (recast)
- European Parliament, EPRS, Recast of the EU Roaming Regulation, March 2022
- European Parliament, EPRS, Roaming regulation review, EU Legislation in Progress, May 2022
- European Parliament, EPRS, Improving roaming on public mobile telecommunications networks, Initial Appraisal, May 2021
- European Parliament, EPRS, Roaming Regulation: EU Digital Single Market policy, Implementation Appraisal, February 2021
- European Parliament, EPRS, Wholesale roaming regulation: A precondition for 'roam like at home', EU Legislation in Progress, July 2017
- European Parliament, EPRS, Roam like at home by default, Briefing, December 2016
Author: Maria Niestadt, firstname.lastname@example.org