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wolfbln 13-04-2016 11:34

New EU roaming rules from May 2016 - which SIM for roaming
As most of you will know by now, the EU has decided to bring (most) roaming surcharges to an end by mid 2017. The next step will be implemented 30th April 2016 with a further reduction of EU roaming rates.

In short: Additional to the existing caps, every EU provider needs to offer a tariff for EU roaming that limits the surcharges to 5ct per MB, 5ct per min outgoing, 2ct per SMS. Incoming calls are limited to slightly over 1ct/min. All plus local taxes (mostly around 20%).

So from May 2016 you have basically three choices in the EU:
1.) to stay on your home EU SIM (or the 1st SIM you buy in the EU for visitors) and use it on roaming at your destination. This is the most convenient solution and will be allright for most voice and SMS uses, but only for small amounts of data. Most providers will charge around 6ct/MB, a few go down to 4ct/MB (announced in Slovakia and Austria) and some still are allowed to charge 24ct/MB (based on a high domestic default rate).

2.) to buy a local SIM card in your destination country. This is still recommended for recurring visits to the same country, longer stays and especially high data usage. A starter pack plus some credit is available for as low as 10€ (or the equivalent) in most EU countries. For this price you will get 1GB in most places or even more in some Eastern and Northern countries. But it involves some effort: you need to buy a SIM, have to show your ID in many countries now and need to have some understanding of the local offer and particularities. That's why we make the prepaid data WIKI. It's still the only reasonable option for out of the EU.

3.) to buy a "roaming SIM" for your destination country. This is a mixture of 1.) and 2.) and was introduced to the WIKI 2 years ago. The basic idea is to take a cheap (national) SIM card and use it for roaming in other EU countries. Unfortunately, "international" SIMs like TravelSIM proved to be overpriced and some EU operators try to prevent you doing this. So we've offered a selection of cheap roaming SIMs. This option is meant for travellers who visit multiple countries in a short time when 1.) gets too expensive and 2.) too much of an effort to buy a new SIM in every country. This category proved to be one of the most popular especially for overseas visitors.

As the default roaming rates are coming down from May 2016, EU operators need to adjust their roaming portfolio. They are still allowed different packages for roaming, not compliant to the per-MB EU rule, for users to opt in. So there will be new daily, weekly or monthly packages on sale. It's very hard to keep track of hundreds of providers all over the Union. So I need your help. For my revision of the EU chapter due in May 2016, I want to feature new reasonably priced EU roaming offers. The current offers here can give you an idea. We focus on data, as voice or text roaming doesn't differ so much anymore from domestic prices.

That's why I started this thread. If you have spotted a new roaming rate for the EU in your country on prepaid that beats previous offers, please add it. As the default EU rate is reasonable for most voice and text roaming and light data use, I'm interested especially in packages for higher data consumption (>200 MB).

Vodafone Germany's slashing of all roaming fees for CallYa Smartphone plans is such an offer and will be featured on the WIKI from May. I will take it with me to Spain to check it (and hope that they don't change their mind again).

Thanks for your contributions and the best will be shown in detail on the WIKI, I promise :-)

rfranzq 13-04-2016 19:12

Thanks for your efforts.

Originally Posted by wolfbln (Post 48586)
....., I'm interested especially in packages for higher data consumption (>200 MB).
Thanks for your contributions and the best will be shown in detail on the WIKI, I promise :-)

Thank you for your efforts. This will be interesting to watch.
It is kind of sad that over 200MB is considered "high[er] usage".

I don't know whether for your sake to wish that a lot of changes do not occur before May 1st,
or for everyone else's sake that there are lots of changes and a lot of competition.

wolfbln 26-04-2016 21:24

Well, we are now 4 days to go until the new roaming rules in the EU will be finally implemented.

You see, my appeal for new and better EU roaming offers got a rather meager response. Simply, because there are only very few so far. Possibly, we'll get a last minute surprise.

That's why I focused on the editing of the new rules & regulations for the EU and what it really means for users on the prepaid data WIKI. Please check it and give me some feedback if I've missed some important aspect:
(this draft site will eventually be split in 2 parts and be moved to EU article position later)

So what do we have in store for (data) roamers in the EU? A very mixed bag for the transition period: Many providers will stay on their excessive 23-24c/MB for roaming (Remember this means €240 for 1 GB), a few will go down to 6c/MB under certain conditions.

But Vodafone in Germany and the Netherlands will get the spotlight with the best offers announced so far. They are the first networks in Europe to drop all roaming surcharges on (most) prepaid plans for the EU:

- Vodafone DE CallYa Smartphone Special: 750 MB + 200 mins (in the roaming country and to Germany) : €9.99 for 28 days. Whether add-ons work too, remains to be seen.

- Vodafone NL YOU S, M or L or Online-only Blox: e.g. 1 GB for €9.99 (30 days, CH included)

- Tele2/*bliep in NL also announced to sell 1 GB EU roaming for €10 in add-on packages.

So for testing, I'll start with VF DE in ESP in 5 days. Results can be found here and in the WIKI later.
Please help me with your feedback, experience or suggestions. Remember, the SIM plan needs to give EU roaming rates more or less at domestic prices. A limit of 2c/MB in a package or 3c/MB in a PAYG rate is set to be included.

peterdoo 26-04-2016 23:18

In theory the same EU regulation valid from April 30th is supposed to enforce some kind of net neutrality. German Telekom called that in their blog: "technically equal treatment of all internet traffic".

That means that in normal case no other throttling of data would be allowed than a general speed limit to the one foreseen in the contract. Throttling/blocking/prohibiting VoIP/WhatsApp calls or tethering should not be possible anymore. Also offering lower speeds in roaming (O2 Germany does that) should not be allowed. Exceptions are allowed to avoid net congestions, however they cannot be in force all the time and on the whole network.

Hopefully the operators will follow the rules without having to complain with the regulators first.

wolfbln 27-04-2016 20:09

@ peterdoo
I will add a segment about net neutrality in the EU to the WIKI.

And here they come: the last minute roaming offers. The providers are not so sure yet. I was really hoping of better rates from the UK given the fact that FreedomPop has started there and Three UK has a smaller roaming-surcharge-free option with Feel at home already-

Now, Tesco Mobile promised to scrap all roaming surcharges in a promotion (23/MAY - 03/SEP):

So Tesco Mobile will sell EU roaming data like 1GB for £10 or 8GB for £20 from end of May. Great news. May be the UK rethinks their vote about the EU again. It's not all bad after all.

Good news from Belgium too: Scarlet Mobile, a Proximus subsidiary, that sells prepaid SIM cards through the Belgium branch of the Phone House has promised to scrap all roaming charges, for prepaid too:

So I think we'll get good offers for EU roaming originating in most EU countries. I'm still a bit disappointed about the cheapies in the East and North, the Western operators are so afraid of. Still, no good offers coming from there yet.

peterdoo 28-04-2016 18:48

We've got the next prepaid one from Germany: LIDL-Connect (MVNO on Vodafone).
Home allowances can be used within the EU without surcharges. Also includes roaming calls to all EU countries, but no LTE for now.

lover08 28-04-2016 21:25

I see most of German Vodafone MVNO have the same deal - you pay home plan (German one) and get this plan also all over EU without surcharge

This is not the best solutions as they offer small data bundles only, mostly combined with calls that one may not need(400 MB, 750 MB, 1GB is the biggest that I see)

750 MB data bundle is not serious in 2016

Nothing heard from O2 and eplus not MVNO and not operators
(Eplus MVNO were first who made free incoming calls in eu without conditions but by today they didn't offered something interesting yet
We will wait

peterdoo 28-04-2016 22:04

That were the times when E-Plus was the small operator, ready to fight. Now O2 is the largest one, not so flexible anymore. The other operators also do not have a pan-European network of own/associated operators behind them, like Vodafone does.

wolfbln 29-04-2016 01:37


Originally Posted by lover08 (Post 48621)
This is not the best solutions as they offer small data bundles only, mostly combined with calls that one may not need(400 MB, 750 MB, 1GB is the biggest that I see)

750 MB data bundle is not serious in 2016

Vodafone DE has switched on free roaming one day ahead of schedule.

Most Vodafone DE MVNOs seem to copy Vodafone's billing of selling included mins/SMS or MB without any surcharge in all of the EU. All calls and SMS within the roaming zone (not only to Germany) will be included as well - as long as you've booked a domestic package before.
This applies to MVNOs Otelo, Fyve, Edeka mobil, Lidl Connect and some more, but most likely not to Lycamobile.
So 3 GB EU-roaming data can be purchased for €20 on some of them.

WizardOfOz 30-04-2016 21:05

TescoMobile(o2UK) have a summer promo on from 23rd May - 4 Sep

Triple credit last 30 days, £20 credit will buy you 8GB and £40 bonus credit can be used on calling the EU (excludes UK) 4p a minute and 1p a text to EU, MMS 25p, free incoming.

A/C management online

3UK has 2 prepaid offers

Data Reward 200MB Mobile Broadband free a month can be used in EU calls in same roaming country or to UK, 4.3p a minute, 1.8p a text, 4.3p a MB.

200MB can be used in EU with 3 Feel@Home countries (see below)

30 day data Addons available after 200MB, 2GB £15, 5GB £20, 10GB £25.

free 200MB sim

Pay as you go ^same rates but you can buy add-ons off UK mins, texts and allocation of data - this data allocation can be used as in the UK.

All in One 10, 1GB, 100 min, 3000 texts ,£10

All in One 20, 12GB, 300 min, 3000 texts, £20

All in One 25, All-you-can-eat data, 500 mins, 3000 texts - £25

Or calling UK or same roaming EU country without a addon is same as rates above. Incoming calls 1p a minute.

"Feel At Home

You can now use your UK plan allowance or Add-on allowance to call or text the UK and to get online, if you’re in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Macau, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA. You’ll also benefit from lower-than-usual roaming rates in these countries if you run out of an allowance or you're using Pay As You Go credit. Find out more on our main Feel At Home page.

We wouldn't recommend buying a Euro Internet Pass in a Feel At Home destination, since it's usually cheaper to buy a UK Add-on in My3. If you do buy a Euro Internet Pass in one of these destinations, please be aware that your data won't be blocked at midnight UK time as normal. This means that unless you then buy another pass, any data use will come out of any allowances you have, or will be charged at our lower roaming rates."

I have used the info on the site for many years (thanks everyone) so covering my costs I will be happy enough to send anyone either. Also mods I would like to update the UK prepaid page with current UK info so if you are interested in doing such let me know :)

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