Western Balkan nations cut roaming charges

5 Jul 2019

New regulations lowering roaming fees across the western Balkans came into effect earlier this week, setting price ceilings for charges on users travelling between Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia under a Roam Like At Home Plus (RLAH+) scheme. The rules were agreed in April this year and will eventually see roaming charges across the six countries abolished entirely from 1 July 2021. From 1 July 2019, though, the guidelines set strict limits on the amount that an operator can charge for roaming within the region. The rates are applied on top of the user’s domestic retail prices and vary depending on the customer’s plan, but typically reduce the maximum fee by more than 90%. Albanian sector watchdog the Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (Autoritetit Te Komunikimeve Elektronike Dhe Postare, AKEP), for example, notes that the previous maximum fee for outgoing calls was ALL215 (USD1.97) per minute but from 1 July that charge was lowered to either ALL7.5, ALL11.16 or ALL28.5, depending on the user’s plan. The highest fee is applied to customers without an active bundle, or no minutes/credit remaining on their plan and the lowest fee is charged to customers with an active plan and their usage is deducted from their allowance. The middle bracket can be applied if technical limitations prevent the provider from deducting usage from the customer’s plan. The smallest cut in price was on outgoing SMS, which fell by 86% from ALL65 to ALL9, whilst the charges for data transmission saw the greatest price cut, with the maximum roaming charge falling from ALL365 per MB to just ALL3.75 for most users – a reduction of 99%.