My significant other and I both live in Sweden, and we have two different phone subscriptions from the same provider (Hallon). I have 25 GB monthly data, she has 100 GB. We have large plans because we do not have any other Internet connection at home, so we use these plans for everything.

This summer we spent some days in Norway, and we quickly found out that for both of us there is a 10 GB limit for use in the EU/EEA.

Surprised by this, I researched whether EU rules allow our operator to impose such a limit. I found the following passage:

If at home you have unlimited mobile data or very cheap mobile data, your operator may apply a safeguard (fair use) limit on data use while roaming. If this is the case, the operator will have to inform you in advance about such a limit and have to alert you in case you reach it. That safeguard limit will be high enough to cover most, if not all, of your roaming needs.

Having read this, I now suspect my carrier may be breaking the directive.

I will explain why, starting with what I believe is the most critical point.

That safeguard limit will be high enough to cover most, if not all, of your roaming needs.

Especially for the 100 GB plan, I think only allowing 10% of the data you pay for to be used in the EU each month is rather low. Assuming one spends the same amount of data one does at home ("roam like home", as they call it), one only has enough data for 3 days of usage. Most people go on holidays longer than that. Even for me, who get 12 days of normal use in the EU per month, it is not enough for a normal holiday of 3 weeks, for example. I do not consider this "roam like home" or "most of my roaming needs".

Moving on, I am not sure if our plans are the types that warrant a limit at all:

If at home you have unlimited mobile data or very cheap mobile data...

While our plans are obviously not "unlimited", what "cheap" and "very cheap" mean is subjective. We pay 349 SEK (34 EUR) for the 100 GB plan and 249 SEK (24 EUR) for the 25 GB plan. Those rates are rather good, among the best in the Swedish market, actually. I guess you could call them "cheap". "Very cheap"? Maybe. However, the term is subjective, so I have a hard time deciding. They are somewhat cheaper than the nearest competitor, but not by a very large margin. Also, the service coverage is not all that great.

...the operator will have to inform you in advance about such a limit and have to alert you in case you reach it.

While the limit is laid out on the carrier's website and in its terms, we did not recieve any SMS or anything like that while we started roaming. We only found out about the limit once we had spent 80% (8 GB) each in Norway, and got warning SMS messages that our packs were nearly empty. After that, our carrier started charging us for continued use.

If my carrier is indeed violating the directive, is there any government body (either EU or Swedish) that I can complain to? If yes, what process can I follow?

I have already tried reaching out to the customer care of my operator and they were unwilling to give any answer about the legality of their FUP limits.

I asked a similar question regarding my Norwegian carrier (I used to live in Norway), but it is different since the plan is different, and in this question I am also asking how to resolve the issue with my carrier.

  • 2
    What do the terms of service say? Legally, you would have agreed to these terms when you subscribed to your plans. Jul 24, 2018 at 21:03
  • 9
    @JimMacKenzie The terms of service include the limitation, but no contract is above the EU directive. The EU roaming directive is above all carriers and contracts in all of the EU and EEA. The whole point of the directive is to guarantee free roaming througout the EU.
    – Fiksdal
    Jul 24, 2018 at 21:04
  • 10
    The terms of service would likely qualify as "inform[ing] you in advance", although the carrier would still have to notify you when you hit the limit, based on the EU terms you posted. Incidentally, 100 GB for 349 SEK is indeed "very cheap", at least in my opinion. :) Jul 24, 2018 at 21:06
  • 2
    @JimMacKenzie To be honest, I have 50 GB for 33 euro with KPN, which is one of the more expensive network owners in Netherlands there's no EU limit for me. 100 GB for 349 SEK is double that data for a little bit more money. It doesn't seem "very cheap" to me.
    – Belle
    Jul 25, 2018 at 11:13
  • 1
    Do those EU rules apply even in non-EU areas? Norway is not part of the EU.
    – Jaime Soto
    Jul 25, 2018 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


No, your carrier is not breaking the policy : https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/internet-telecoms/mobile-roaming-costs/index_en.htm

Here are the relevant parts :

The limit is calculated on the basis of the retail price of your domestic mobile bundle as in the case of unlimited data.

The roaming data volume must be at least twice the volume obtained by dividing the price of your mobile bundle (excluding VAT) by the wholesale data roaming cap [per GB] (€6 in 2018).

For example: you pay €40 (excluding VAT) for your mobile bundle with unlimited calls, SMS and data. When you roam like at home in the EU, you get unlimited calls and SMS and at least 13.3 GB of data (2x(€40/€6) =13.3).

You have a limited data plan, where you pay less than 3 euro per GB of data. Therefore, your carrier can apply a cap on data roaming usage. The cap is calculated as follows : 2 ((34-VAT = 30) / 6) < 10 GB. Your carrier is actually giving you more data than entitled to.

Same story for the other plan.

To future-proof this, note

The cap for data will progressively decrease on 1 January each year as follows: €4.50, €3.50, €3 to €2.50 in 2022. The cap after 2019 may be revised following a review of the wholesale roaming markets in 2019.

This allows you to get more data roaming next years.

And in case your carrier was actually breaking the policy, the provided link suggests to contact him, and to escalate to National Telecom authorities if the carrier doesn't solve it : List of national authorities

  • 1
    How does one get a "roaming data volume" by dividing a price by 6 euro? That will create a dimensionless number, not a volume of data. (Or perhaps it will create something with the unit of time^-1 if the price was a monthly/weekly/yearly price, which is not a data volume either). Jul 25, 2018 at 8:57
  • 8
    @HenningMakholm But it isn't really €6, is it? More like €6/GiB. Jul 25, 2018 at 9:00
  • 2
    @HenningMakholm To be picky, the wholesale data cap as defined by the EU commission is actually in €/GB, as you can see here.
    – zakinster
    Jul 25, 2018 at 9:00
  • 6
    Just to add to this excellent answer: your roaming needs should be considered you can easily check your route on Google Maps, look for a decent restaurant on Tripadvisor, chat with friends on your favourite IM or retrieve your e-mails in the evening. You don't have to watch than next Netflix series episode or download a software update though. Also you were informed upfront if you have the information in your contract. Sending a text when you're entering the roaming region is just a courtesy of your operator. You did get a warning message that your roaming package is running up as required.
    – Ister
    Jul 25, 2018 at 10:01
  • 1
    34€ inc VAT in Sweden is actually 27.2€ ex-VAT (not 30 as your answer suggests). Jul 25, 2018 at 10:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .