Drop in EU mobile roaming charges comes into effect

One of the most expensive travel companions you take on holiday could be your phone or your tablet.

When you use them overseas it's called "roaming". It has been infuriating for travellers who arrive home and get a bill shock.

A woman uses her mobile phone on a Greek beach. Credit: Friso Gentsch/DPA

Research for one of the big comparison sites, uSwitch, found that 91% take their mobiles on holiday - and 85% have no idea what kind of charges they are likely to ratchet up.

There has been a battle to reduce these costs starting in 2007. The latest installment comes into force today:

  • Downloading webpages, films etc shifts from being capped at 36p to 16p per megabyte maximum charge - a megabyte allows you to see about ten web pages worth
  • Making calls was capped at 19p - that’s been lowered to 15p per minute
  • Sending texts is down from 6p to 5p (all figures are minus VAT)

Of course there have been grumbles from the industry saying they do need to make money for investments in big projects like 4G.

General view of a sign promoting 4G network services. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive

But their critics have argued that the networks have arrangements that go right across Europe, so where's the excuse for them to increase charges as they have in the past?

So can you now relax on the beach with your mobile device?

Not quite, all of this only applies to the EU. Outside of that the networks can still charge what they like. So in big holiday destinations like Turkey and the United States - beware.