What is Roaming? 

When you travel to a foreign country, your mobile phone keeps working: you are roaming. You can make & receive mobile phone calls, write text messages (SMS) or download songs. Your calls, SMS and other data services are operated by a foreign network because your home provider does not normally operate in that country. For providing this service, the foreign network operator charges your home operator and your home operator passes this additional cost on to you.

1. SMS Roaming 

When you send or receive an SMS while abroad you are SMS roaming.
When you send an SMS while abroad, your operator will charge you a higher fee than the normal cost of an SMS. This fee includes additional costs for using the visiting network and transferring the SMS back to the home network. Operators do not charge for receiving an SMS abroad.

2. Data Roaming 

You can also use various data services while abroad: sending & receiving multimedia messages, reading & sending emails, using the internet via your handset or even connecting your laptop to the internet via a data card.

The price of a mobile data service is very often based on the volume of the data, which is measured either in kilobytes (KB) or megabytes (MB). An email is normally between 1 and 50KB; a page of your favorite online newspaper can be 100KB or more. To download a song you would have to transfer 2 to 5MBs of data. Your operator will charge you a price that also includes the fee that the visited network charges the home operator to provide the service.

3. Voice Roaming

When you make or receive a call while abroad you are using voice roaming.

European roaming rules

On June 30, 2007, new EU rules on roaming (roaming regulation) entered into force: citizens travelling within the EU could now phone across borders at affordable and transparent prices. The Eurotariff set maximum prices for phone calls made and received while abroad. These maximum prices applied to all consumers unless they opted for special packages offered by operators.

In 2009 these rules were modified and a Eurotariff for text messages was established, as well as some rules for data roaming.


Voice roaming: starting 30 April 2016, the eurotariff for an outgoing call is domestic price + up to €0.05 (excluding VAT), without exceeding 0.19 EUR (excluding VAT) with taxation at second after the first 30 seconds, and the eurotariff for incoming calls is 0.0114 EUR (excluding VAT) with taxation at second starting the first second.

SMS roaming: starting 30 April 2016, the eurotariff for a sent SMS is domestic price + up to €0.02 (excluding VAT), without exceeding 0.06 EUR (excluding VAT). Received SMS are free of charge.

Data roaming: starting 30 April 2016, the eurotariff for 1MB of data in roaming is domestic price + up to €0.05 (excluding VAT), without exceeding 0.20 EUR (excluding VAT) with taxation for each KB. A mechanism for protecting consumers from ‘bill shock’ in data roaming services has been introduced which means that, following a warning, the consumer’s mobile connection to the internet while abroad is cut when their bill reaches a specified limit. If the customer does not specify a limit, a default cut off limit of 50 EUR per month is applied from 1 July 2010.

More transparency of roaming charges for consumers: customers receive an SMSwhen they are crossing borders within the EU to inform them of the price they are expected to pay for making and receiving calls, sending SMS and data roaming. Customers are able to request more detailed information by means of a voice call or an SMS.