Roaming in Europe, everything you need to know to save

From wholesale roaming prices, to the cost of calls, sms and data traffic. Here's how to use your smartphone from abroad without paying extra costs

That roaming's days are numbered is a fact, so much so that many European operators, and also Italians, will begin to eliminate additional costs for those who use their smartphone from abroad without waiting until June 15, the day on which the new legislation will come into force.

Let's reconstruct the story.

After years of discussions and second thoughts, a few weeks ago the European Parliament put an end to roaming, approving the agreement reached in February among the 27 European countries. An important decision that has swept away even the last doubts, according to which the cancellation of roaming could have undergone a delay of another 12 months. But what is roaming? It is the service that allows you to call, send messages and surf the web from abroad. In other words, the smartphone leans on a foreign network paid by the operator to which the user belongs. And at very high costs, known by the name of wholesale roaming prices.

What changes from June 15

From June 15 these costs will be progressively lowered. For data traffic, the wholesale price, for example, will drop from €50 to €7.7 per GB, rising to just €2.5 per GB in 2022. And costs for calls and SMS will also go down. In concrete terms, what will happen for operators and what will change for individual users? With the cancellation of roaming, the former will be forced to comply with the entry into force of the new legislation, i.e. they will have to offer their users the same services granted at home without extra costs. In practice, it will be possible to call, send text messages and surf the web in all 27 EU countries according to the tariff plan provided by the national operator.

Let's take a concrete example. If our subscription provides 1000 minutes, 100 text messages and 3 GB of internet, we can continue to use them almost freely even abroad. Almost, in fact. If there are no problems for calls and sms, for internet the situation is different. At most we could use twice the gigs that can be purchased according to the wholesale roaming price, which in 2017 will be, as seen, 7.7 euros per GB.

All phone companies will have to adapt by June 15: in Italy  the main companies have already announced that roaming will be deactivated before the limit set by the European Union.


Tim non ha rilasciato ancora nessuna conferma ufficiale per quanto riguarda la fine del roaming, ma entrando all’interno dell’applicazione MyTIM Mobile è stata aggiunta una piccola dicitura vicino al proprio abbonamento mensile. Infatti, affianco alle soglie di traffico dati e delle chiamate, è spuntata anche la parola “UE“, ciò vuol dire che l’abbonamento è valido non solamente in Italia, ma anche in Europa. Anche senza una comunicazione ufficiale, è un segnale che Tim ha deciso di adeguare le proprie tariffe alla norma europea.


Wind ha anticipato la concorrenza e ha eliminato il roaming per gli abbonamenti dal 24 aprile 2017. Si potrà chiamare dai Paesi dell’Unione Europea senza dover pagare dei costi aggiuntivi. Wind ha anche pubblicato i costi delle chiamate e degli SMS nel caso in cui si utilizza un’offerta a consumo:

  • 23 €cent/min per le chiamate voce effettuate
  • 7 €cent per sms inviato
  • 24 €cent/MB per il traffico dati.


La Tre ha abolito il roaming dal 3 maggio. Qualsiasi utente che telefonerà all’interno di uno dei Paesi dell’EEA (Area Economica Europea) non pagherà nulla, ma consumerà solamente il traffico del proprio abbonamento. Nel caso in cui si ha un’offerta a consumo, Tre applicherà queste tariffe per i propri clienti:

  • 23,18 €cent/min per le chiamate voce effettuate
  • 7,32 €cent per sms inviato
  • 24 €cent/MB per il traffico dati.


Vodafone ha annunciato di essersi adeguata alle nuove normative dell’Unione Europea per quanto riguarda la fine del roaming, ma non ha comunicato le nuove tariffe che saranno applicate ai clienti con tariffazione al consumo. Roaming will be permanently cancelled for all users as of June 15.


Even mobile virtual operators, i.e. companies that do not have any license for their own radio spectrum and rely on the facilities of other companies, will have to adapt to the new rule by June 15. One of the first companies to do so is Fastweb, which has announced that it will offer its customers the same number of minutes for calls both in Italy and abroad. For example, if you have 500 minutes of calls in your subscription, Fastweb will provide you with 500 minutes of calls to make on Italian territory and another 500 minutes to make abroad. Regarding data traffic, Fastweb will offer its customers an additional 1GB to be used only abroad. Compared to the competition, the choice of Fastweb is very innovative and probably the company will change it by June 15 to adapt to European standards.

Roaming limits

Of course there are limits to be respected. You will only be able to access the same rates offered by the operator you belong to on a temporary basis. Operators will be able to monitor their customers over a maximum period of 4 months where if they find that the card has been used abroad for more than 2 months they may apply additional costs. And what will happen if operators do not respect the new legislation? They will be heavily sanctioned.