Intra-EU international calls and SMS rates to be cut

Published: 15 May 2019

Pursuant to an EU Regulation, starting from mid-May, per-minute rates for intra-EU international mobile and landline calls for residential subscribers will be capped at EUR 0.19, with the maximum rate for SMS being set at EUR 0.06. In order to ensure that the relevant operators apply the legislation published last December in the most precise and professional way possible, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) sent an information letter to operators about key rules to be monitored for compliance.

After the abolition of EU roaming surcharges, the 15th May this year sees the reduction of intra-EU international telephone use charges in the European Union: per-minute call rates will be capped at EUR 0.19 (HUF 76.8 including VAT), while per-SMS rates will top out at EUR 0.06 (HUF 24.25 including VAT); maximum rates, along with the applicable conversion methods, are set out in the EU Regulation adopted on 11th December last year. Prior to this legislation, there were some operators in Hungary that charged a per-minute rate of HUF 100 for intra-EU international calls and HUF 70 for SMS.

Operators may offer alternative tariffs, but before subscribers choose such a tariff plan, operators are required to inform them about the option of having tariffs as per Regulation. Subscribers may switch back and forth between per-Regulation tariffs and alternative tariffs offered by operators free of charge at any time within a business day. In this case, operators must ensure that the switch does not involve any changes in terms and conditions or any other limitations.

To what use and whom does the new legislation apply?

The new rates apply to calls made and SMS sent from “home” (the country of the subscription’s location) to Member States of the European Union, to both landline and mobile services. If the landline operator applies set-up charges for such calls, the sum of the per-minute rate and the set-up charge may not exceed HUF 76.8. The scope of the legislation only covers residential subscribers; for business subscribers, there is no need to make changes to tariffs. The legislation will soon be implemented in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as well.

What does NMHH do for consumers?

In order to ensure that operators apply the EU Regulation with a positive impact on consumers in the most professional way possible, this April, the Infocommunications Authority made all 168 relevant operators aware of the legislation applicable as of 15th May and provided detailed information on the matter. Under its annual supervisory plan, the NMHH will check whether operators offer tariffs in compliance with the new rules and actually apply the new rates.

In order to provide direct information to Hungarian consumers, the NMHH prepared Hungarian subtitles for the informative video made by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), promoted by the authority on its own electronic platforms. The video offers guidance not only on intra-EU international calls but on EU roaming as well.