The EU’s Roaming Regulation, which extends the Roam Like at Home (RLAH) – has been indispensable to European businesses and citizens alike in allowing travellers in EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries to call, text, and use mobile data without incurring any extra charges.

First introduced in 2017, from 1st July 2022 the Regulation has now been extended for another 10 years with new additions also introduced.

Thanks to updates to the regulation, Maltese citizens will be able to benefit from an enhanced roaming experience when travelling within the EU/EEA, enjoying the same quality of mobile communications services as they do in Malta.

Roam Like at Home allows travellers from EU/EEA countries to stay connected and use mobile communications services when travelling across the EU/EEA, without paying extra roaming charges – with just a few exceptions.

The new Regulation now adds more benefits, so that mobile subscribers may not only enjoy the same prices whilst roaming in the EU/EEA but also the same quality of mobile communications services as they do at home, when technically feasible.

Mobile service providers are to ensure that whilst roaming in the EU/EEA, their subscribers have access to the same quality as at home when the equivalent networks and technologies are available on the foreign operator’s network.  

The new rules also guarantee clear information about services that may be subject to extra charges when used by roaming customers.

While Roam Like at Home only applies within the EU/EEA, the Roaming Regulation also provides safety measures to protect roaming customers against high charges that apply outside the EU/EEA, in-flight on planes, and at sea on cruise liners.  When first connecting to a network in any foreign country or on a plane or ship, roaming customers are to receive a welcome notification including information on applicable roaming charges.

Additionally, service providers should notify and automatically interrupt mobile data services if monthly data roaming consumption within the EU/EEA, outside the EU/EEA or over non-terrestrial networks reaches around €59 (incl. VAT at Malta rate).

Roaming customers have to follow a specific procedure on their mobile device should they wish to continue using data roaming services. The service provider will once again notify the roaming customer when monthly consumption exceeds €118 (incl. VAT at Malta rate), and unless indicated otherwise by the customer, the data roaming service will be ceased.

In summary, the RLAH also includes  a control mechanism to protect EU/EEA citizens from racking-up unexpected charges on their travels and further incentives the use of mobile data and telephony across the EU/EEA.

However, when planning to travel outside the EU/EEA, citizens are advised to check roaming rates and conditions with their mobile service providers prior to arriving at their destination. There could be situations whereas due to technical constraints the automatic data cut-off mechanism facility may not be available when travelling outside the EU/EEA or on ships or on planes, but in such cases your service provider is required to warn you by SMS when your mobile device first connects to the foreign network that your data usage and expenditure are not capped.

The above information was collated by the Malta Communications Authority, the national regulatory authority for communications locally

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