Mobile Internet access provided in roaming subject to new rules

As of this March, European mobile operators are required, as part of the service of providing mobile access to the Internet in roaming in the EU/EEA, to make a free application available to their customers which provides them with information on their accumulated consumption, expressed in traffic volume or in euros. This application will ensure that the accumulated charge in a given period of time does not exceed a specific financial limit without the customer's express consent.

To this end, national providers are required to make one or more limits available to their customers for determined periods of use. One of these limits must be around, but may not exceed 50 euros for a monthly billing period (excluding VAT). Upon reaching the limit chosen by the customer, billing of the roaming data service is automatically suspended by blocking access to the service.

Until 1 July 2010, unless a customer has chosen another limit provided by the operator or has chosen not to use this automatic block, the operator should, by default, activate the blocking mechanism once the bill reaches 50.00 euros.

After this date, each national provider must send notification to the customer's phone or other roaming device, for example through an SMS, e-mail or a pop-up window on their computer, when the data roaming service (in financial or traffic volume terms) has reached 80% of the agreed limit. Customers have the right to ask that their operators stop sending such notifications and have the right to require that provision of this service be restored at any time and without charge.

When the volume or financial limit is exceeded, the operator must send notification to the customer's telephone or other roaming device. This notification must indicate the procedure to be followed if the customer wishes to continue using the services in question and the costs incurred with each additional unit of consumption. If the roaming customer does not respond as described in the notification received, the national provider shall immediately cease delivery of the regulated data roaming service with no further charge for the service, unless and until a request is made for provision to be continued or restored.