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Western Balkans Enjoy Lower EU Roaming Rates Following New Agreement

An agreement between 38 Western Balkan telecom operators and the EU – which slashes the cost of roaming – has come into force, lowering the cost of internet data for the regions’ residents when in the EU and vice versa.

One Albania has slashed the cost from 60 lek/mb, 50 lek/mb, and 40 lek/mb, depending on the subscription, to a rate of 2.4 lek/mb, equivalent to 0.023 euro cents. Vodafone Albania has opted not to be part of the agreement and instead offers its own traits for roaming in partnership with its European branches.

“From today, we speak more freely with Europe. As promised, along with the autumn leaves, roaming prices between Europe and the Balkans will also fall from 30% to 99% discount. Up to 95% reduction in Albania and up to 99% in Kosovo,” Majlinda Bregu, the secretary general of the Regional Cooperation Council, wrote on Facebook.

The initiative to reduce the price of Internet roaming started with the signing of the Roaming Declaration at the Digital Summit of the Western Balkans in Tirana in December 2022 and has been supported by the institutions of the EU and the Western Balkans.

Its aim is to reduce the gap between roaming services and domestic prices between EU and Western Balkan countries, with the aim of strengthening ties between the two regions, encouraging and simplifying business, cultural, tourism and other exchanges.

Specific offers will be determined by each of the EU and Western Balkans telecommunications operators, based on their commercial decisions, with a ceiling price.

Operators agreed to set a maximum retail price level of €18/GB (gigabyte) starting from 1 October, €14/GB starting in 2026, and €9/GB starting in 2028.

The agreement with the EU countries on reducing Internet roaming charges follows the agreement reached on the complete abolition of roaming charges between the Western Balkans countries. From the end of June 2021, mobile phone users in Albania, Kosovo,

Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina communicate during trips to other countries in the region without additional costs and with the same tariffs as the respective national plan.

According to data from INSTAT, for the first eight months of this year, Albanians registered approximately 4.6 million trips abroad, an increase of 19% compared to the previous year.

Currently, residents of the Western Balkans enjoy free roaming in all six countries as of July 2021.

This was part of a plan to prepare the region for the changes that have just come into force.

Source : Euractive