12. Is the roaming service in Europe governed by special rules?

There are specific rules governing the provision of roaming services in the European Economic Area (EEA)1. These rules are established by Regulation (EU) no. 531/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2012https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1132567, by Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1373317 and by Regulation (EU) 2016/2286 of 15 December 2016https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1401619. These rules seek to eliminate differences between national tariffs and roaming tariffs and to make information on applicable roaming tariffs clearer and more transparent, while safeguarding the implementation of other mechanisms to prevent unexpectedly large bills, especially in the context of roaming data services.

For roaming communications within EEA countries, from 15 June 2017, operators are required to apply Roam Like At Home (RLAH)2.

Under Roam Like At Home, the tariffs you pay for communications between EEA countries may not exceed the tariffs you pay for your national communications (in the case of calls, SMS, MMS and outgoing video calls, that price should not exceed the price paid for communications to other national networks). If you are subscribed to a national tariff with a monthly charge which includes a certain amount of free national calls/SMS/MMS, roaming traffic must be discounted from these same volumes and be provided free of charge up to those limits.

However, even with this rule, operators are permitted to implement a Fair Use Policy (FUP) for the roaming service. If you exceed the limits or rules of this Fair Use Policy, the price of your roaming communications may be increased by specified surcharges set by the European Commission.

For more information, see answers to the questions "Do my communications in roaming have the same price as my national communications from 15 June 2017?" and "What are the conditions for the implementation of Fair Use Policy (FUP) in roaming between countries of the European Economic Area (EEA)".


1 European Union countries and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
2 Applicable rules as defined in European Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/2286 of 15 December 2016. The only cases where Roam Like At Home may, as an exception, not apply, is where operators demonstrate to the regulator that they are unable to recover the costs incurred in the provision of roaming services.