The June 15th and the arrival of free roaming to Europe came.
After years of battle in Brussels, a European regulation obliges all operators to allow their customers to use their national rates within the borders of the Union and associated countries without any extra cost, for calls as well as messages and data.
Equally, the regulation left a gap for those operators who saw their business threatened by the measure, since even if users do not pay extra costs operators will continue to charge each other for the use of networks made by their customers. And after the announcement of DigiMobil taking off from free roaming, we now know that Lycamobile also does not offer free roaming, with their prices very high.
Free roaming: a problem for MVNOs
It was known for some time that the end of pay roaming was going to be a problem for the MVNO’s. Although users do not pay more than our national rate, the operator of the customer who travels through Europe has to pay the operator who receives a wholesale price, which in the case of data is set at 7.7 euros for 2017.
A cost that the network operators compensate by charging operators in other countries with customers coming to Spain, but that the virtual have no way to compensate, as they do not have their own network. Likewise, the majority of the Spanish MVNO’s ones will offer the free roaming, at least for the moment, having so far taken off DigiMobil and Lycamobile only.
Both brands have truly competitive rates for domestic use, DigiMobil on the side of data bonds and Lycamobile on rates with unlimited calls, so we could suspect that they could not offer free roaming. Anyway, if a customer of Lycamobile uses internet roaming the virtual will benefit a great benefit, since while the user pays almost 17 euros per gigiga Lycamobile only has to pay the host operator 7.7 euros.
Now it’s time to wait for the June mobile portability data (perhaps July for a better picture) to see the effect of not offering free roaming on data from DigiMobil, which led the gains in May, and Lycamobile. Keep in mind that many users do not leave the Spanish borders, so having free roaming is not something that matters too much.