Portuguese data roaming in the EU skyrocketed 370 percent between Q3 2016 and Q3 2017, the country’s regulatory authority for the communications sector, ANACOM (Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações), told the nation’s Lusa News Agency news agency.
During the same period, there was also an increase of 66 percent in total voice calls received, and a 49 percent rise in total voice calls made – while the volume of text messages grew by 98 percent.
The “substantial increase” of communication traffic by Portuguese roaming customers, as ANACOM described it, is attributed to the regulation (EU) 2017/920 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017, which introduced a common approach to declaring roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union, abolishing all roaming surcharges for temporary roaming within the European Economic Area (EEA) as of 15 June 2017.
“Phone calls, SMS and going online with your mobile device from another EU country will be covered in the national bundle. The minutes of calls, SMS and megabytes of data that a person consumes abroad (within the EU) will be charged the same as at home. People will not have bill shocks anymore,” said the European Commission.
According to a report published by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), roaming traffic grew considerably across the entire EEA in Q3 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Indeed, more than 5 times more data and almost two and a half times more phone calls were consumed in the EEA.
Although welcomed by consumers, the end of roaming in Europe increased the operating costs of telecommunications operators, some of which have decided to change their terms of service, opting to exclude roaming from their tariffs.
Portuguese media holding company and mobile phone operator NOS told Lusa that the new regulation has directly impacted its revenue, making it difficult for the company to recoup the investments made in boosting capacity and improving its network to serve an increasing number of tourists who visit Portugal each year.