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Roaming charges post Brexit

August 21st, 2018

According to a recent article from BBC News, it will be a while before any changes on roaming charges are implemented.

If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 as planned, with a withdrawal agreement in place, any changes to roaming charges won’t happen immediately. All EU rules and regulations, including on mobile roaming anywhere in the EU, will continue to apply until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

In June 2017 the European Union scrapped additional roaming charges on smartphones when you travel to another EU country.

Since then UK consumers have, within reason, been able to use the minutes, texts and data included on their mobile phone tariffs when travelling in the EU, with ‘fair use’ limits in place.  Before rules changed, using a mobile phone in Europe was expensive and many people would return from trips with bills  for hundreds or even thousands of pounds waiting for them from their network provider.

So what will happen the year after?

This year, the Prime Minister announced that the UK will not be part of the EU’s Digital Single Market, which will continue to develop after withdrawal from the EU… meaning that the European regulation that prohibits roaming charges will not automatically be part of UK law, so UK mobile network operators, if they want to, might be able to reintroduce the charges.

It is also possible that the UK government could create its own laws regulating roaming fees after Brexit, but it would be hard to impose that on UK network operators without a reciprocal agreement with their counterparts in the EU.

Operators’ plans

The operators might be allowed to reintroduce roaming charges but it may not necessarily mean that they will do so. The BBC news report mentions the following;

Three has committed to maintain the availability of roaming in the EU at no additional cost following Brexit.

Vodafone said it was too soon to assess the implications of Brexit on roaming regulation, but added it expected competition to continue to drive good value for customers and that it currently had no plans to change its roaming charges.

EE also said it had no plans to introduce charging and called on the government “to put consumers at the top of their agenda in the Brexit negotiations to help ensure that UK operators can continue to offer low prices to our customers”.

And O2 said: “We currently have no plans to change our roaming services across Europe. We’re engaged with the government with regards to what may happen once the UK officially leaves the EU.”

 

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