New laws to cut costs in Europe

Using a mobile phone on holiday in Europe will cost no more than using it at home as a result of new rules that come into force today.

The Roam Like Home legislation effectively bans service providers from adding extra charges to mobile calls, text messages and downloads made on phones registered in one EU country and used in another.

It was brought in to prevent consumers receiving huge bills after downloading films or other data while travelling in Europe, but watchdog Which? has warned that differences in providers’ tariffs could lead to unexpected costs.

So-called “bill shock” from holidaying in the EU affected more than nine million UK mobile users a year, according to research by comparison website uSwitch.

MEP Dan Dalton, who helped introduce the new law, said UK consumers will benefit from the agreement while the country remains a member of the EU, but what will happen after Brexit is unclear.

“This is an EU regulation so it’s bound to being in the EU,” he explained.

“If we remain in the single market or closely linked to the single market in this area, this will stay. If we’re not in the single market, there will be a question.”

Which? is warning travellers to remember that the regulations only apply to roaming, not to calling EU countries from the UK and prices vary significantly.

It found calling Spain from the UK can cost between 9p with provider Giffgaff and £1.50 per minute on O2.

Exceeding agreed minutes, texts and data will still be charged in the EU as it would in the UK, with all providers charging different rates.

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