While our readers in the UK are currently enjoying some of the best weather they're likely to see all year (including this writer) it's still likely that UK residents and those from other countries in the EU will be heading out of their country on holiday. That means that with them will be coming their smartphones, and while back home they offer utility and ease of use, on holiday or business trips they quickly become a drain on our wallets. Companies like Three with their Feel-at-Home initiative have made things easier, but the news today that the European Union have agreed to ban roaming charges within Europe by 2017 is good news, indeed. It's also sooner than we thought.
Thanks to support from both the European Parliament and Council, June 17th, 2017 is the date that roaming charges will be abolished in the EU. There will be some sort of fair usage policy here, otherwise travellers will perhaps purchase a SIM card from the UK to use back home in Spain in order to get a better deal, leaving the UK network to foot the bill. The idea here is to make it easier for people to travel between member states, without having to worry about a bill waiting for them at home. That 2017 date is quite a way off, so it's nice that things will start getting better from April next year. Next April, networks will only be allowed to charge â‚¬0.20 per MB, â‚¬0.06 per SMS and â‚¬0.05 per minute as a maximum. The irony here is that these limits are a little cheaper than people are paying right now in some cases, depending on the network.
Today's announcement also brings with it better rules on what ISPs can and can't do in Europe. The official Press Release is calling it the start of a "Guaranteed Open Internet" which will start from April of next year as well. The new rules will ensure that users "will not be unfairly blocked or slowed down", basically preventing any ISP operating in the EU to offer paid priotization or block content that isn't part of a "public interest exception" which basically means things like child pornography and well, we'd imagine anything illegal. Regardless, both these new net neutrality rules and the end to roaming charges are good news, and should go a long way to ensure a decent experience in Europe when getting online, no matter where you are.