When youtravel outside your home country to another EU country, you don’t have to pay any additional charges to use your mobile phone. This is known as “roaming” or “roam like at home”. Your calls (to mobile and fixed phones), text messages (SMS) and data services are charged at domestic rates, i.e. the same price as calls, texts and data within your home country.
The same rule also applies to any calls or text messages your receive while you’re abroad – you aren’t charged extra to receive calls or texts while roaming, even if the person calling you is using a different service provider.
“Ending roaming charges restores people’s freedom to travel, to feel at home, to no longer have to pay for crossing borders, but to see the whole of Europe as home.” said Viviane Reding.
But when we left outside Europe, what would happen? This is a story about €16000 for 4 hours in roaming!
What is often suggested is to deactivate the data or, alternatively, activate an ad hoc promotion/solution to navigate the visited country.
A Venetian real estate agent, who went to South America, found himself having to pay 16,000 (sixteen thousand) euros for his Tim SIM card. Why? Because he have forgotten to deactive data for four (4) hours.
Somebody may say: it cannot be, how much data will he have used to incur such a high bill? 850 mb! And it is not an error, as confirmed by ADICO (consumer defense association): the cost is the result of a price per Kb 0.02 euro.
TIM explained that the roaming rates for Zone 4 (of which the countries of South America are part) are particularly high (the highest in the world), recommending the stipulation of ad hoc contracts and specific promotions in order not to have the bank account reset.
“When we opened the file we were incredulous – comments Carlo Garofolini, president of the consumer association -. A € 16,682 bill for four-hour internet traffic seemed an exaggeration to us. Instead, as illustrated by Tim, those are the costs for roaming in South America and therefore we were not faced with any error. Then we could not ask for the total cancellation of the invoice and we proposed the balance and excerpt of the amount and the installment of the same. We thus obtained a “discount” of 75% which we believe is an excellent result, and the payment by installments of the amount of € 4,000 and 600, which is still a demanding figure but very far from the initial one “.
Can we consider it a happy ending?
In short, before traveling outside the EU always remember to be careful of roaming and to disable mobile data or, alternatively, activate a data / minute plan dedicated to the country in which you will go.