Roaming charges in the Western Balkan region will be abolished from 1 July this year, in accordance with the Regional Roaming Agreement (“Agreement”) signed in 2019 at the second Western Balkans Digital Summit in Belgrade.
In this way, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo are following the path of the EU Member States that abolished roaming charges a couple of years ago and whose citizens can exchange calls, messages and data at equal cost regardless of the country they are in. The abolishment of roaming charges will certainly bring large savings to the economy, since costs of telecommunication services of economic entities doing business primarily in the region are not small.
Previous roaming prices
Provisions of the concluded Agreement stipulate that from 1 July 2019 until 30 June 2021 the price of calls, SMS and data transfer would be formed by increasing the price of services in the home network by adding a pre-defined amount that does not exceed the sums stipulated in the Agreement. Accordingly, the price for one minute of call under the Agreement may not exceed RSD 22.4, the price for one message RSD 7, while maximum price for data transfer is RSD 21.4, all without VAT.
The Agreement also stipulates gradual reduction of roaming prices in several phases starting from 1 July 2019, then from 1 January 2020 and from 1 July 2020, so that full abolishment of roaming charges in the Western Balkan region would be achieved by 1 July 2021.
Roaming charges were so far reduced once in six months and the last average price for one minute of call for outgoing calls was around 11 dinars.
Also, data transfer per MB has been reduced from around 30 dinars to around 4 dinars.
From 1 July 2021, roaming in the region as “roam like at home”
The provision of the Agreement referring to complete abolishment of roaming charges in the region will finally start to apply from 1 July 2021. The price of calls, SMS and data transfer in roaming in the Western Balkan region will be the same as the price paid by citizens in their home networks. This is the way the European principle of so-called “roam like at home” will be applied.
Roaming charges in the EU
It was also announced that the plan for reduction of roaming charges between the region and the EU will be prepared by the end of 2021.
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By Natalija Djukic, Associate, PR Legal