Why it's now cheaper to call and text from France to EU countries

Evie Burrows-Taylor
Evie Burrows-Taylor - [email protected] • 15 May, 2019 Updated Wed 15 May 2019 10:45 CEST
Why it's now cheaper to call and text from France to EU countries

From Wednesday May 15th the cost of making a call from a landline or mobile phone and sending an SMS from France to another EU country will be capped.


The four French mobile operators are required to drop their rates following a vote by the EU parliament back in November to cap the prices of calls and sending text messages from people in one member state to those in another.

From May 15th, a price cap will apply to all international calls and SMS messages within the EU. 
"After abolishing roaming charges in 2017, the EU has now taken action against the excessive charges for cross-border calls that consumers make from their country," said Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.

Readers' tips: Which mobile phone provider is the best for foreigners living in rural France?Photo: AFP

So how much will prices be capped at?
From May 15th operators will no longer be able to bill a call from France to an EU country for more than 22.8 cents per minute and for an SMS, the price must not exceed 7.2 cents per message. 
This represents a significant drop in prices compared to those applied by most of France's four operators, Free, Orange, Bouygues and SFR at the moment, according to French consumer group Que Choisir.
The European Commission used the example of a mother living in Italy who calls her daughter working in Belgium for an average of two hours a month.
Previously the call from the Italian landline would cost 0.89 euros per minute, which means she would spend about €105 a month on the calls. However with the new rules, she would pay a maximum of 0.23 euros (including VAT) per minute, which would mean a total cost of €27 euros for the same amount of time spent calling her daughter. 
This represents a saving of €78 per month.
French mobile operators have introduced a system which means that consumers will automatically benefit from the new tariff as soon as it comes into effect on Wednesday.


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