Mobile phone users have been warned that today’s ban on roaming charges within the EU does not necessarily apply in other European countries not in the EU, such as Turkey.
The new law dictates that mobile phone customers should pay the same prices for calls, texts and data when travelling in the EU as they do at home.
While this broadly means that you can take your phone allowance into the EU without paying anything extra, you should still check with your provider to see what exactly is included.
You should also be aware of the following:
1. Not all European countries are included in the ban
Telegraph Travel checked to see which countries were included in the main providers’ definitions of the Eurozone and found that, while Switzerland was included by all of the main players, Vodafone was the only company to include Turkey when it comes to “free” roaming.
Other countries included even though they are outside the EU are Switzerland, the Channel Islands, Iceland, the Isle of Man and Liechtenstein.
Three offers “free” roaming, on certain plans, in the most countries of all the main phone companies – 60 at last count.
2. You might pay heavily if you go over your allowance
If you have a monthly contract and an allowance, you will only be able to use up to your allowance limit. Travellers are also being warned to check the small print of their contract for any caps that may be in place on the amount of data that they can use in the EU.
If your trip is at the end of your contractual month and you think you may well end up watching one too many episodes of Veep on your tablet on the flight home, you are better off buying an additional roaming travel bundle from your operator before you go, so that these charges are kept at a minimum.
3. Don’t try calling the EU from the UK
The ban on roaming charges only applies to when you are abroad.
4. Be careful near borders
There is a chance that your phone can pick up a signal from another country without you noticing (when sailing around Kos, off the Anatolian coast of Turkey, for example).
Turn off data roaming if you think that this might happen or keep an eye on the name of your service provider shown at the top of your device.
5. Internet speeds will be slower abroad
There are differences in the speed of data services offered abroad: Vodafone and EE are currently the only two (of the main companies) to offer 4G overseas, with Vodafone offering it in more than 110 destinations.
6. Things might change again soon
“Consumers should also keep in mind that, as announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in March this year, roaming charges for countries outside of the EU will incur 20 per cent VAT on top of normal network rates from August 1, 2017,” said ErnestDoku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com.
Looking ahead to Brexit, the Association of British Travel Agents, Abta, said it would like to see that the agreement remains in place even after Britain leaves the EU, to prevent a return of the punitive charges that occasionally saw travellers facing hefty bills after a trip abroad.