The abolition of additional charges for EU roaming was widely anticipated. Now that it has taken effect, the early indications are of a significant increase in mobile use by travellers. What the “end” of roaming in the European Union, June 2017, really change for the enterprises and business communications?
With no more extra charges than you would pay at home, it appears more people are leaving their data roaming turned on when they leave the country to go to other EU countries. In fact, many not only left it switched on but actually used their phones more when they were away than they would have done back home.
READ MORE: Abolition of Roaming Charges in EU Does Not Lead to Lower Costs. Here is why.
The most likely explanation is that users in their office or in their home will normally use Wi-Fi for streaming or downloading. Before the roaming charge changes, they would probably have done the same abroad: seeking out free hotel or coffee-shop Wi-Fi despite the potential security risks. Now, with the changes, they feel more comfortable to stream or download without the inconvenience of having to use a free Wi-Fi hotspot.
Taking Control of Charges
The freedom to access data of all kinds, anywhere, also means the freedom to do whatever you want on your phone or other mobile device, wherever you are. For business travellers that means freedom to do your day job anywhere in the EU, without worrying about managing massive costs. It means the ability to prepare a quote or close a sale on the spot, and access all the resources that would normally be at your fingertips, even though you’re hundreds of miles away from your office.
This new freedom is a breath of fresh air for all businesses involved in any EU business travel, though it is noticeable that SOHO businesses have been quicker to take advantage. This may be because in these smaller organisations, the person using the device is more often also the bill payer and able to take the unilateral decision to roam freely.
A press release from the EU in April stated that “EU citizens travelling to any other EU Member States will have no roaming charges while making phone calls, texting or surfing online with their mobile phone or device using their home country’s SIM card. The European Commission has successfully worked to remove roaming charges.”
Some of the communications and promotions on the change used the phrase “free from roaming charges” but with “free” being the most prominent word.
READ MORE: How free is free roaming?
This terminology may have led users to believe they can make calls and access texts and data throughout the EU at no cost at all – which of course is not the case. What’s been removed is the extra cost that used to apply, so users now only pay the same as they do domestically.
A strong vigilance remains necessary on the telecom uses and roaming costs whatsoever.
Called “new black gold” for 21st century companies, the data has been found in a few years the main foundation of new digital uses, whether personal or professionals. This central, inevitable character has given it this key value for companies, but also explains the cost associated with it, especially for its transfer.
On the operator side, this is a balance to be found, broader than the sole concern of “free” roaming in the European Union since mid-June. Indeed, consumption user data is increasing year by year and the nature of the “data packages” that allow to respond without limitation to new uses communication, images, videos, are therefore
screened by customers. The “unlimited” already widely used as a marketing argument (and backed by
fair-use) is gradually becoming the standard, notes a recent study by Credit Suisse quoted by the daily Les Echos. They are now 15 operators to offer it in Europe, in addition to 4 major operators in the United States.
READ MORE: The hidden dangers of “free” roaming in Europe and increasing Out of Bundle Mobile Charges
One of the first things to consider is that employees who travel very little are faster to expose the company to sudden high roaming charges because the day found abroad, they do not change their uses – they are not aware of the impacts. The statistics suggest that only one third of the extra costs come from the same users:
the rest is broken down at random in the company, by very diverse actors. In other words, the subject does not
not just for seasoned business travelers, quite the opposite.
READ MORE: Switzerland an island for roaming costs
Companies can make many recommendations or put in place many systems to master telecom uses abroad. The main challenge is to find the right balance between freedom that can be left to employees and control. Some corporate cultures really push for one or the other of these extremes, but this is not recommended.
There are many examples of “bill shock” amounting to tens of thousands of euros for a single collaborator. But beyond the amounts concerned, the priority question for a company is the one transparency and the ability to foresee the significant variations caused by these costs.
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