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After the Balkans, roaming charges can also be lifted with the EU

  • 7/13/2021 9:40 AM
After the Balkans, roaming charges can also be lifted with the EU

From the beginning of this month, the Western Balkan countries eliminated roaming tariffs for mobile services between them.

But, this process does not end here: already the countries of the region are aiming for a reduction until the total abolition of these tariffs even with the countries of the European Union.

Altin Rrapaj, director of the Directorate of User Protection at the Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (AKEP) says for Monitor that technical discussions have already kicked off to assess the possibilities of removing roaming tariffs with European Union countries.

The European Union became the first joint space that decided to abolish roaming tariffs, starting from June 2017. The European Union model was also implemented by the countries of the Western Balkans, which, with the coordination and mediation of the European Commission, in 2019 undertook a similar process.

It started with the gradual reduction of roaming tariffs, in two stages, until their complete abolition, starting from July 1, 2021. Mobile operators must provide regulated retail roaming services, according to the respective prices within the country for their subscribers, who are usually residents in Albania at the time they travel to the Western Balkans. This also applies to the packet communication units that users will continue to use freely while roaming. The abolition of roaming tariffs will facilitate communication in the labor and tourism movements of citizens within the region.

For the Western Balkans, this step was made possible through a political agreement between all participating countries. The abolition of roaming with the EU will require similar Union agreements with each country in the region, as long as there are no signs of rapid membership for any of the Western Balkan countries. However, the details of this process and the path to be followed remain to be detailed, at the political, legal and technical level.

/Klara Ruci/