sim_seuleLast week the French operator Free Mobile announced the first “no commitment mobile plan” that includes roaming telecommunications from a European country.

That means that as of the 7th July, Free Mobile Plan subscribers can use their plan (at a cost between 15,99 and 19,99 euro per month) at no extra cost when they travel around the European Union.

This new plan does not require Free Mobile customers to opt in, since it automatically applies to new and existing subscribers, no matter how long ago they signed up.

This plan allows all Free Mobile customers to make:

  • unlimited outgoing calls from an EU country to an EU country and to France up to 35 days per calendar year and per EU country;
  • unlimited outgoing SMS and MMS from a EU country to this country and to France up to 35 days per calendar year and per EU country;
  • 3G Mobile Internet acces up to 3 GB/month (deducted from the customer’s allowance) 35 days per calendar year.

Also incoming calls are not charged when roaming in a EU country, with the same criteria detailed above.
On top of the EU countries, this plan applies also to Canada and Israel.

It’s very interesting to note that Free Mobile has launched his new plan just while the European negotiators finally agree to a provisional deal on reforms that will eliminate mobile phone roaming charges throughout the EU starting mid June 2017. See our communication on this from last week. Regulation n. 531/2012 establishes the policy objective that the difference between roaming and domestic tariffs should approach zero.

Free Mobile seems to follow this policy without half measures, since it extends its domestic tariffs also to calls, SMS, MMS and data service used during roaming in EU.

As far as the “fair usage” policy is concerned, the Proposal for a Regulation issued last week says that

“roaming providers may apply a “fair usage policy” to the consuption of regulated retail roaming services provided at the applicable domestic retail price…”

According to this proposal, “Fair use policy is “, intended to prevent abusive or anomalous usage of regulated retail roaming services by roaming customers in another member state than that of his domestic provider for purposes other than periodic travel. Any fair use policy should enable the roaming provider’s customers to consume volumes of regulated retail roaming services at the applicable domestic retail price that are consistent with their respective tariff plans”.

Free mobile provides for its Fair Use Policy, stating that

“For 35 days per calendar year, communications in excess of 35 days per calendar year are charged at the applicable rates. One day is counted as from the first call (outgoing or incoming) or MMS (outgoing or incoming) or SMS (outgoing or incoming) or the first internet connection during the first 24 hours from the Pass destination. The 3GB/month Internet allowance applies to all Pass destinations combined. Unused days may not be carried forward to the following year”

and its Fair Use Policy is clearly communicated to customers, just as required by the aforementioned Proposal for a Regulation that clearly foresees the following rule:

“In particular, provision should be made for timely notification, free of charge, to roaming customers of information on the applicable fair use policy, of when the applicable fiar use volume of regulated voice, SMS or data roaming consumption is reached, with relevant surcharge information, and of information on accumulated consumption of regulated data roaming services”.

With this solution, Free Mobile is setting the pace for the rest of operators in Europe by anticipating the end of roaming charges by almost two years.

Source: Free Mobile France