While travelling, I entered Andorra (not a member of the EU) and stayed there for 2 days. I was unaware that Andorra was not included in the list of countries in which EU-roaming is free. (There is a lot of confusion, since e.g. non-EU Switzerland is also free to use roaming in (at least by every telecommunications service provider (TSP) provider known to me), and other TSPs in my home country do include Andorra as country in which roaming is free). I have received a very large phone bill, which I do not want to pay as I believe my TSPs has not adhered to their requirements under EU law. Specifically, among others, they did not send me any SMS or other notification with tariff information when I entered Andorra. Here is my attempt to see where my rights are at.


My TSP mentions in the contract I signed with them that they adhere to the REGULATION (EU) No 531/2012. Article 15, Paragraph 2 of this regulation mentions (important part in bold):

An automatic message from the roaming provider shall inform the roaming customer that the latter is roaming and provide basic personalised tariff information on the charges (in the currency of the home bill provided by the customer’s domestic provider), expressed in price per megabyte, applicable to the provision of regulated data roaming services to that roaming customer in the Member State concerned, except where the customer has notified the roaming provider that he does not require that information.

Such basic personalised tariff information shall be delivered to the roaming customer’s mobile device, for example by an SMS message, an e-mail or a pop-up window on the mobile device, every time the roaming customer enters a Member State other than that of his domestic provider and initiates for the first time a data roaming service in that particular Member State. It shall be provided free of charge at the moment the roaming customer initiates a regulated data roaming service, by an appropriate means adapted to facilitate its receipt and easy comprehension.

Specifically the word Member State is of interest to me. Formulated like this, this specific paragraph does not require the roaming provider to send tariff information when the roaming customer enters a non-Member State (such as Andorra in my specific situation)

However, later down in the same Article 15 of the same regulation, Paragraph 6 mentions (important part in bold):

This Article, with the exception of paragraph 5, and subject to the second and third subparagraph of this paragraph, shall also apply to data roaming services used by roaming customers travelling outside the Union and provided by a roaming provider.

Where the customer opts for the facility referred to in the first subparagraph of paragraph 3, the requirements provided in paragraph 3 shall not apply if the visited network operator in the visited country outside the Union does not allow the roaming provider to monitor its customers’ usage on a real- time basis.

In such a case the customer shall be notified by an SMS message when entering such a country, without undue delay and free of charge, that information on accumulated consumption and the guarantee not to exceed a specified financial limit are not available.

My question

Here is where I have trouble to interpret the correct meaning. Paragraph 6 implies that paragraph 2 also applies when traveling outside the union.

My understanding is that hence the tariff information mentioned in paragraph 2, to be sent by a roaming provider adhering to this law (so presumably any EU-based roaming provider), must also be sent whenever their roaming customer enters any state (i.e. Member and non-Member states).

Put differently, I as a customer, that has not explicitly told my roaming provider to not send this information, need to always be notified of the tariffs whenever I enter any country in the world and use mobile data for the first time.

My questions are:

  1. Is my interpretation of these paragraphs correct? Specifically, am I correctly applying the generalisation mentioned in paragraph 6 to paragraph 2?
  2. (Not sure if this can easily be answered, if not please ignore) Assuming my interpretation is correct, and given that I did not receive the tariff information by my TSP, my TSP conducted a breach of contract in my opinion. Is this correct, or could there be other ways for my TSP to argue that they did not breach this contract? (There is no mention of this tariff information or related information anywhere else in my contract and the TSPs terms and conditions)
  • In regard to "delivery of the tariff information" - neither SMS, nor email, nor any of the possible methods of invoking a pop-up message on the mobile device are reliable. Hardly any contractual obligation may depend on them - there is no proof for either side.
    – fraxinus
    Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 17:16
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    There are currently 3 close votes on this question for Requesting specific legal advice. While yes, OP has related it to their own situation, the core of the question is interpretation of a specifically cited EU Regulation, and their situation is illustrative. IMO, it's on topic & above the usual quality of questions on this site because OP has clearly done their own research, specifically finding and citing the relevant statute, which we don't often get.
    – DPenner1
    Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 17:19
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    @fraxinus Cell carriers log activity on their network, which would include their SMS transmission of the notice. To your point though, how long those records are kept is another story entirely.
    – Michael
    Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 22:25
  • @DPenner1 thank you for not closing, I was unaware that requesting specific advice is not desired here, I included some details such that it is easier to follow why I am asking these questions. I will keep this in my mind if I ask future questions.
    – charelf
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


Is my interpretation of these paragraphs correct? Specifically, am I correctly applying the generalisation mentioned in paragraph 6 to paragraph 2?

Yes. Your interpretation is not only correct, but reinforced by recital 90. That recital reflects the principle that customers ought not to be exposed to the pricing uncertainty associated with "travelling abroad (both within and outside the Union)".

my TSP conducted a breach of contract in my opinion. Is this correct, or could there be other ways for my TSP to argue that they did not breach this contract?

Yes. Your conclusion that the TSP incurred breach of contract is correct.

Your previous post indicates that your contract with the TSP incorporates by reference the regulation you quote here. That incorporation by reference has the exact same effect of copy/pasting in the contract the text of that legislation (thanks, Michael, for your follow-up question, since I was obviating some of the OP's previous information).

It is possible that the TSP also violated its contractual and statutory duties related to paragraph 3 (implementation of financial & volume limits), but that depends on whether you had opted out of your rights pursuant to that provision.

Regardless of the aforementioned incorporation by reference in the contract, [EU 2016/531] article 15 in its paragraph 1 is very clear that the TSP has the duty to inform you of the applicable tariffs both before and after the conclusion of a contract in order to "permit [customers] to monitor and control their expenditure on regulated data roaming services".

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    Is this a breach of contract, or a breach of their regulatory and/or legal obligations? Both?
    – Michael
    Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 21:54
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    @Michael It is both, although I admit this conclusion is not obvious without the context the OP provided recently. It is also a breach of contract because the OP's contract incorporates by reference a set of rules relevant to the purpose of that contract. Had the contract not incorporated (by reference or otherwise) that regulation, the provider's conduct would violate only the statute. It is noteworthy that the provision the OP pointed out is present also in the regulatory replacement (EU 2022/612 art. 14). Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 22:14
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    Thank you for the extensive answer and also for clearing things up by referencing my earlier post, I could have been more clear on that. You mention that "... but that depends on whether you had opted out of your rights pursuant ...". I have considered asking yet another question concerning this (it is paragraph 3 of the regulation), as I read it as an opt in, not opt out due to the phrasing "the opportunity to opt deliberately" in Art 15(3). I did not opt out, but also not opt in. Do you read it as opt in? I can also ask a new question as asking in comments is probably undesired here aswell.
    – charelf
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 13:15
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    @charelf "I read it as an opt in, not opt out". Recital 87 is indicative of the default case: "Unless customers state otherwise, they should be put on a default limit system". Even if recital 87 were missing or different, art. 15(3) still requires the provider "that the customer is informed in advance of the corresponding [volume/financial] amounts". By not informing the customer about the available limits, it seems somewhat unreasonable to expect the customer to be aware that he can opt in. Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 13:30

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