Roam Like at Home in the region

Roaming Policy Working Group, that consists of the representatives of WB ICT Ministries and National Regulatory Authorities follows roaming file. This group served as the negotiation group for RRA.

The signing of RRA during the 2nd Western Balkans Digital Summit in Belgrade in April 2019 brought significant reduction of roaming costs to all WB mobile end-users from 1 July 2019. RRA is considered as one of the most important achievements of the Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans as well as MAP REA and CRM.

Representatives of ICT Ministries and National Regulatory Authorities in the Western Balkans have regularly met in order to review the progress made in the implementation of the RRA. The ultimate goal of RRA to introduce Roam Like at Home (RLAH) regime as of 1 July 2021 in the region was successfully achieved and roaming free WB region was established, meaning that currently, WB consumers do not pay extra charges for calls, SMS and mobile data while in roaming in the region, compared to what they pay at home.

An information campaign undertaken by RCC and all economies through preparation of Frequently Asked Questions helped end-users to understand better application of RLAH regime.

The number of roaming users, as well as roaming traffic, increased in the first three months of RLAH (e.g. in Albania data volume during Q3 2021 increased by 11 times compared with Q3 2019 or 14 times compared to Q3 2020, in Bosnia and Herzegovina data volume increased by 520% in Q3 of 2021 compared to 2020, in Kosovo* data volume increased in Q3 2021 for over 370%� compared to Q2 2021, and for 500% compared to Q2 2020, while in Montenegro, the number of roaming users from the other WB economies increased during July - September 2021 and in some cases it reached up to 30%).

Reduction of roaming charges between WB and EU

By signing the RRA, a harmonised roaming space in WB has been established and thus the key prerequisite to pursue EU-WB roaming reductions has been met. The Roaming Data report prepared by the RCC shows high prices for roaming services between the EU and WB and helped preparation of the Roadmap for Lowering Roaming Charges between the EU and WB.

The roadmap has been aligned with WB economies in September 2021. The ultimate goal of the process is to lower the roaming prices with the EU close to domestic prices in 2027, contributing to a decrease of roaming charges by more than 90% in the currently most expensive WB mobile networks. There are two parallel streams in this process: implementation of a set of policy reforms by WB governments aimed at improving business environment in the region, as well as carrying out preparatory activities with WB and EU mobile operators in order to facilitate implementation of the proposed glide path starting as of 2023. Consultations with mobile operators (i.e. 15 July, 27 September and 13 December 2021) helped to address the challenges and concerns regarding the roadmap and the respective proposal for lowering the roaming charges.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

Next steps

  • Follow the implementation of RRA
  • Advance in the implementation of the Roadmap for Lowering Roaming Charges between the EU and WB
  • Facilitate and coordinate the work for a structured Regulatory Dialogue between the EU and WB
  • Maintain structured consultation with mobile operators through a transparent and all-inclusive process.