Telephoning abroad

In terms of smartphones, roaming means nothing more than using one's mobile phone contract abroad. In the EU in particular, users benefit from a regulation that has been in force since 15 June 2017 and has reformed usage outside the home country. You can thus leave your SIM card in your phone and consume the contractually agreed free allowances, be it telephony or file volume, in other countries - at least as far as possible. Before this regulation came into force, roaming was usually associated with high costs and mobile phone providers made people pay dearly for using their own smartphones abroad. But thanks to the EU-wide regulation, this is now a thing of the past.

What is free of charge? And where?

In simple terms, you can use your mobile tariff anywhere in the EU as if you were in your home country. All free allowances concerning telephony, sending SMS and data services are also available to you outside the country's borders. The regulation also applies to the European Economic Area, which includes Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. Switzerland, on the other hand, is not part of this regulation and therefore mostly has its own tariff agreements.


Where do dangers lurk nevertheless?

Despite the existing EU regulation, mobile phone providers have the option of limiting the free allowances of certain tariffs and, in the case of a file volume of around 10 GB, only allowing part of it for international use. Therefore, if you are unsure about your allowances, check with your provider before going abroad. Also note that your allowances do not usually apply when you make calls from Germany or Austria to other EU countries!


What do I do outside the EU?

The same agreements apply to countries in the EEA (European Economic Area) as to the EU - i.e. Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. Contrary to many circulating opinions, Switzerland does not belong to the existing EU regulation. This means that mobile phone operators are able to charge high prices for call minutes or gigabytes consumed in Switzerland. The same applies to all other countries that do not belong to the EU and EEA. The USA, Turkey and some Balkan states are particularly worthy of mention here.

Tip: If you are travelling to countries outside the EU, deactivate mobile data. In this case, only use WLAN connections, e.g. in the hotel.