Mobile phone users registered in the European Union will be able to use their devices while travelling or vacationing anywhere within the bloc without having to pay roaming charges starting Thursday.
The milestone was reached after a 10-year process to abolish roaming charges within the EU, based on the principle that EU residents shouldn’t be charged more for using their phones when crossing national borders inside the European single market.
“Eliminating roaming charges is one of the greatest and most tangible successes of the EU,” the leaders of EU institutions – the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the EU – said in a statement on Wednesday.
The EU has been gradually capping roaming tariffs since 2007.
Until Thursday, telecommunication companies still charged a few extra euro cents per minute of phone call, per text message or per megabyte of mobile internet when customers used their phones in a country other than the one where they signed the service contract.
The move has been an integral part of developing the EU’s digital single market, which can foster a united digital society in Europe providing access to all citizens.
The agreement ending the surcharges will also be expanded to non-EU countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway shortly after.