The European Union recently began working on new laws to eliminate roaming charges within the EU member states for consumers who live within the EU. This means, for example, that somebody living in Ireland who travels to Germany on a business trip typically won't have to pay roaming charges anymore, nor would somebody who lives in Portugal and decides to take a trip out to see Ireland's emerald hills. As with any such law, of course, there have to be exceptions to make things work for everybody, carriers included. In that spirit, the EU college today discussed a new set of rules meant to give the carriers the tools to prevent abuse of their service and keep prices low enough to make the proposal realistic.
The proposed new bits of the laws are two-pronged. For starters, rules addressing roaming abuse are laid out in the proposal. Those looking to avoid roaming charges must, in essence, use the service as normal and actually live in their stated home member state. Specifically, the rules prohibit users from buying a SIM and having it lay dormant until they travel, having insignificant traffic on a SIM at home compared to when they travel, or subscribing for multiple SIMs and using them sequentially while abroad. These protections would discourage things like buying and reselling SIMs for use abroad, using a cheap service at home and one with better roaming coverage while abroad, and trying to dodge abuse protection by using less traffic across multiple SIMs than they would with one.
The second arm of the new laws, rather than protecting carriers from user abuse, help carriers to keep their own costs low in case of exceptional circumstances in the member state that a user is travelling to. If the costs abroad spike or are significantly higher than their own rates, carriers can ask regulators for a temporary free pass on the "roam like at home" laws. In case of either abuse or exceptional prices abroad, carriers are entitled to charge the same set of small surcharges, significantly less than the roaming fees of old. For now, the proposal has these prices at €.04 per minute in voice calls, €.01 per text message, and €.0085 per megabyte of high-speed data. For now, the new laws aren't in effect just yet, but are set to go live in June of 2017 for all EU citizens.