What is the roaming rate in Europe?

From 15 June 2017 telecom operators will in principle no longer be allowed to charge extra roaming fees on top of the domestic rates.

This means that you will pay the domestic tariff while visiting another country of the European Union or a country that has signed an agreement with the European Union (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).

The full list of countries where the domestic tariff is applicable for roaming services can be found at the following address : http://www.bipt.be/en/consumers/faq/148-in-which-countries-does-the-european-roaming-regulation-apply .

However, the use of roaming services at domestic tariff is only permitted in case of fair use. The purpose of the roaming regulation is NOT that you take out a subscription to a foreign operator and keep on using that subscription constantly in Belgium.

If you take out a subscription with an operator of another EU Member State and use it permanently in Belgium, that operator will be able to apply surcharges. These extra fees cannot exceed the tariffs below:

What do you do?

How much do you pay?
(VAT included)

 You make a mobile call

3.8 eurocent maximum per call minute
on top of the domestic tariff

 You receive a call on your mobile device

1,38 eurocent maximum
for a call within the EU

 You send an SMS

1.2 eurocent maximum per SMS
on top of the domestic tariff

 You receive an SMS

free of charge

 You surf the Internet

  0.9 eurocent maximum per megabyteof data
on top of the domestic tariff

The criteria defining precisely a fair use are extremely complex. You should check with your operator about how it applies the concept of fair use.

When you enter another Member State of the European Union (as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), your operator has to give you certain information, such as the fact that the operator applies a fair use policy and the conditions thereof, via a messaging system.

It is also possible that your operator has been granted a derogation by the BIPT to keep on charging extra roaming fees after 15 June 2017. If that is the case, the operator will inform you beforehand about the applicable tariffs and terms and conditions. At the moment, Voo Mobile is the only operator who received a derogation.

The national tariff for roaming  applies if:

  • you are a customer of a Belgian mobile operator (subscription or a prepaid card) and
  • you call, text or surf with your mobile device from a European country (see below) other than Belgium and
  • using your mobile device you call or text within that country or to another European country.

Good to know: It does not matter whether you make a mobile call to a landline or a mobile phone.

The legal regulation on roaming does NOT apply if you :

  • call or text from Belgium and you are a customer of a Belgian mobile operator;
  • call or text from a country that is not part of the European Union (see below);
  • call from a fixed telephone;
  • your operator received from the BIPT a derogation allowing the application of surcharges. For now, only Voo Mobile received such a derogation.

As to the application of the national tariff to roaming services,  there are a few other aspects you should be aware of as a consumer:

  • Your operator may opt not to apply per second billing until the call has lasted 30 seconds, even when he is obliged to charge the national tariff. This means that if you hang up after 3 seconds for instance because you have reached a voice mail, you may be charged for 30 seconds.
  • when, while abroad, you call, text or send data to a local number, e.g. to order a taxi or book seats at a restaurant, the system of international roaming is also involved.