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wolfbln (Offline)
Senior Member
Prepaid Expert
Posts: 205
Join Date: 14 Jul 2014

Default New EU roaming rules from May 2016 - which SIM for roaming - 13-04-2016, 11:34

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

Last edited by wolfbln; 13-04-2016 at 12:00..
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