The Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, announced that as of October 1, 2023, internet roaming prices have been reduced by an average of 99%. The declaration came after the agreement between the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans within the framework of the Berlin Process. A verification by Faktoje shows that the prices of packages and internet roaming charges of mobile companies, as perceived by the public in Albania, had not changed. The reduction was applied only to pay as you go internet , and will be done in 3 phases, which will take several years.
On October 3, 2023, Prime Minister Rama announced on the social network Facebook that ” from October 1, the prices of “Internet Roaming” between Europe and the Western Balkans have decreased by an average of 99% “.
The media also widely announced the 99% reduction in internet roaming charges.
Based on this statement, we decided to verify whether the price for using the Internet outside the borders has been reduced. From an observation of the tariffs published online by the telephone companies in the country, after October 1, it was found that the prices of packages and internet roaming tariffs had not changed.
We requested data from the Regional Cooperation Council and the Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (AKEP) to be informed about how to apply the fee reduction of up to 99%, as well as when it will be this happens.
According to the information provided by RCC and AKEP, 38 operators from EU and Western Balkan countries have signed a voluntary declaration for the reduction of internet roaming charges.
Only one of the mobile phone operators in Albania has become part of this statement.
” From this October, the price limit for 1 GB of roaming within special offers and packages, which was the subject of the Declaration on Roaming, should not exceed 18 euros . Three Western Balkan operators, in addition to reducing package prices (which was the subject of the Roaming Declaration ), also reduced regular, “pay-as-you-go” prices.” – explains RCC for Faktoje.
AKEP also explained that the reduction of tariffs by the operators who have signed the statement will be gradual and not a 99% price reduction, as announced by the Prime Minister on October 3, 2023.
” In the joint statement, the operators have agreed on the gradual reduction of Internet roaming charges starting from October 1, 2023, where the retail price for 1 GB of Internet will be no more than 18 Euros, no more than 14 Euros in in 2026 and no more than 9 Euros in 2028 . – AKEP, October 17, 2023″
From this information we understand that it will take at least another 5 years for the fee for 1 GB internet roaming to reach 9 euros according to this agreement.
How much did roaming internet cost before October 1st?
The prices published by the telephone operator that signed the agreement show that roaming internet can be purchased through packages and offers for 1000 ALL for 1 GB, valid for 1 week.
This internet roaming price, in the existing packages of this company even before October 1, is equal to the ceiling price that determines the declaration for Roaming, for the year 2028.
So, starting from the comparison of the price of Internet roaming in packages and offers, before and after October 1, we can come to the conclusion that the price has not decreased, because already 1 GB of Internet cost less than 18 Euros.
What is the reduction in the internet price for Albanians?
According to the information provided by the Regional Cooperation Council, as far as the mobile phone operator in Albania is concerned, the only price that has been reduced as a result of the signed agreement that entered into force on October 1, is the roaming internet “pay-as- you- go “, i.e. Internet roaming that is not used through the purchase of packages with a predetermined price and amount of Internet.
RCC informed Faktoje that before October 1, 1 GB pay-as-you-go internet was sold by the Albanian company for 376 – 565 euros. From October 1, the price of 1 GB pay-as-you-go internet costs 23 Euros, decreasing by 93-95%.
What stands out is that despite the drastic reduction for this form of internet roaming service, the price for 1 GB ” pay-as-you-go ” still costs 23 Euros, or 5 Euros more than the ceiling price set by the agreement in question .
In order to understand what was the public’s perception of the 99% reduction of the Internet, we conducted a survey with Faktoje followers.
94% of them say that the price of Internet roaming has not been reduced.
What actually went down with the 99%
Prompted by the hype of the 99% reduction that Prime Minister Rama announced for the roaming internet price, we asked for information on in which case such a reduction has occurred.
In the response received from RCC to Faktoje, we understand that the reduction by 99%, at least until now, is not related to Albania.
” The 99% reduction refers to a telecommunications company operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which reduced the price of internet outside of packages (pay-as-you-go) that reached up to 9,350 euros for 1 GB, bringing them to 17.2 euros for 1 GB, marking a reduction of 99.8% . Another operator that has marked a drastic price reduction is the mobile phone operator in Kosovo, which reduced the price for 1 GB internet roaming from 2,500 euros to 17 euros, with a 99.3% reduction. – specifies the RCC.
The 99% reduction in the price of roaming internet announced by Prime Minister Rama created confusion among citizens, as it was understood as a reduction in the price of roaming packages when traveling to EU countries. But in Albania the price of internet roaming did not decrease by 99% on October 1.
What happened was that 3 mobile phone companies in the Western Balkans signed an agreement to determine the maximum price of internet roaming. This Agreement will be implemented in three phases, bringing the price of 1 Gb to 9 euros in 2028.
In the case of the Albanian mobile phone company that has signed the agreement, the ceiling price that came into effect on October 1 is higher than the existing price of internet roaming in packages and offers. This means that those citizens who buy packages and offers to use the Internet outside Albania will not see a reduction in the price of the Internet as a result of this agreement.
Albanian citizens who benefit from the price reduction from October 1, 2023, are those who have a One mobile phone number and use pay-as-you-go internet roaming , i.e. outside of packages and offers.