EU Parliament extends free roaming in Europe
Today, the European Parliament voted by 581 votes in favour, two against and five abstentions to renew the "Roam like at Home" scheme. The Roaming regulation came into force on 15 June 2017 and mandated the end of retail roaming surcharges in the EU and would have expired by 30 June 2022. Apart from extending the current regulation on free-roaming for mobile phone users abroad in the EU for another ten years, the European Parliament's renewed regulation makes it cheaper for domestic operators to access networks in other countries to offer services to their customers and avoid discrimination. It also prohibits arbitrary decreases in quality of service, improves transparency in tariffs for special services and guarantees access from mobile networks to 112 throughout the European Union.
Our MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Renew Europe shadow rapporteur in the ITRE committee, showed herself convinced about the renewal: "This agreement to extend free-roaming for ten years allows anyone to understand what it means to move forward in the single digital market. Thanks to a process of integration, we are consolidating a right that we also feel in our pockets because there will be no extra costs for making voice calls or using data services while travelling in the EU."
Following today's approval of the extension of the current roaming regulation, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica welcomed the positive outcome. "There is nothing better to explain to the public what it means to move forward in the digital single market than an agreement like this, which everyone understands. Because this agreement consolidates the right of people to forget about roaming within the European Union, it also promotes progress in the development of other services that will improve the lives of citizens. It is finally a demonstration that there are mechanisms to intervene in prices when the market, on its own, does not work properly. The Union must deploy this same regulatory capacity in other sectors such as energy, where the market urgently needs greater integration".
Agreement a source for innovation and hope
This agreement is didactic because it is a spur of innovation and a source of hope. It encourages innovation and the development of new infrastructures and services. Besides, it can serve as an example for markets that need more integration. "Europe's sovereignty and resilience depend on it."
Roaming for Ukraine refugees
Another concern for the Basque MEP is roaming without additional charges for Ukrainian refugees. "It is enough to raise the difficult situation in which the extra cost of making calls or using data roaming services puts the millions of displaced Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion. Connecting with their families and friends on the ground there who are defending the values of our Union against Putin's dictatorship is a basic necessity. That is why I have taken the opportunity to propose that we should endeavour to solve the problem caused by roaming for these people."