Cheaper calls and Emergency Alerts

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Cheaper calls and Emergency Alerts

From 16 May 2019 EU citizens will be better protected. The EU is putting in place a Public Warning System that will allow authorities to push essential information about threats to citizens via their mobile phones. This is also referred to as “Reverse 112” (112 is the number to call in any EU member state in an emergency), this system will be used whenever a natural disaster or terrorist act takes place so people know what to do to avoid dangers.

The purpose of this system having the technie name of European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), is to communicate information regarding potential hazards (man-made or natural) to EU citizens via their phones, through a geolocalised message-sending technology. This type of warning should allow citizens to evacuate or avoid a danger zone more quickly thereby reducing the chances of casualties.

This came as a result of two EU committees – the ITRE (Industry, Research & Energy) and the IMCO (Internal Market & Consumer Protection) working with the mobile phone companies throughout the Union to push alerts, be they a natural disaster like a flood, tsunami or volcanic eruptions, or man made like terrorism directly to mobile phones in the area concerned.

This comes in the middle of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva. ‘We must respond to today’s challenges, but also think about the risks of tomorrow. The citizens of this world expect their leaders to act, and we simply can not bear the cost of inaction. EU is convinced that the implementation of an effective disaster risk reduction policy is essential to adapt to the effects of climate change and to face new emerging risks,’ said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, in a statement today on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

Cheaper calls to other EU countries as of 15 May

Because the EU is a single market the digital realm is part of what we call the Digital Single Market. So on 15 June 2017 Roaming charges ended in the European Union. And now from 16 May 2019 the EU has fixed a maximum amount you can be charged for calling another EU country!

The maximum charge will be €0.19 (+ VAT) a minute for calls to another EU country, and a maximum of €0.06 (+ VAT) per SMS sent to another EU country. That’s not when you’re traveling and therefore roaming, that’s when you’re in your home country and calling another EU country.

The maximum price is only for personal use, i.e., for private customers. Business customers are excluded from this price regulation. So this really is the EU working for citizens rather than just a trading block!

So what happens if your mobile company is not behaving? If you think your mobile company has not respected your roam like at home rights or is charging you too much to call another EU country the first thing to do is to contact your mobile phone company and use the complaint procedure in place to contest these extra charges. But, if you are not satisfied with the response you can contact the relevant national regulatory authorities in your country, usually, your national telecoms regulator who will resolve your case.

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