Changes to EU roaming charges: All your questions answered

Emma Haslett
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Callooh, callay! O frabjous day! Today marks the day EU roaming charges are finally scrapped, meaning we can now all wander freely across European borders, without ever worrying about how much watching that cat video just cost us.

But what does it mean for you? Here's what you need to know.

What exactly is roaming?

Roaming is a general term used to refer to using your mobile while overseas. Consumers tend to be charged more to make and receive calls, send and receive messages and use data when they're abroad. As a rule of thumb, the further you go, the higher that cost is.

What's going on today?

In the past, the European Union put a cap on the amount telecoms companies could charge their customers to use their phones abroad. Back in 2015 it decided enough was enough, and set about scrapping roaming altogether. That means from today, roaming charges are no more.

So I can go... anywhere?

Not quite. The change only affects customers in EU countries who are travelling to other EU countries. Here's a map:

Note that the likes of Switzerland, Norway and parts of Eastern Europe are not included in the new rules, although individual mobile providers may include them - so check with your phone company.

What does it mean for Vodafone, EE, O2, Three and Giffgaff customers?

Vodafone customers won't notice much of a difference: it became the first mobile phone operator to scrap roaming charges to 40 countries back in April, with Martin Freeman merrily crowing about it on its television ads ever since.

EE also announced back in May that it will not only ditch roaming charges to EU countries, but 47 destinations in total, including Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Monaco.

Three, whose terrifying giraffe/flamingo hybrid has been advertising the fact for a while now, offers free roaming to 60 destinations, including the US, Australia, Brazil and Singapore, as well as EU countries.

We're still waiting to hear back from O2 and Giffgaff - check back shortly for an answer. In the meantime, for your entertainment, here's that flying giraffe:

Read more: EU travellers get cheaper mobile phone bills for roaming abroad

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