Three UK

Three UK bringing back roaming charges for UK users in Europe

Roaming charges are additional fees charged for making calls, sending texts and using internet data whilst overseas.

When it comes to mobile carriers keeping promises, they are as reliable as a chocolate kettle. Despite promising not to in 2019, Three is the latest UK carrier to announce that they will be reintroducing roaming charges for customers.

From 23 May 2022 , Three UK will start charging UK customers to use their phones in Europe. Customers who have taken out a new contract or upgraded with Three from 1 October 2021 will pay a charge of £2 per day when roaming within the EU and £5 a day when roaming outside the EU.

Pay as you go customers and customers who have taken out a contract before 1 October 2021 are unaffected by these changes. Customers roaming in the Republic of Ireland are also unaffected.

In a statement Three stated:

We know that Go Roam has always been important to our customers and we had hoped to retain this benefit, but unfortunately there are now too many unknowns, which has made it commercially unviable for us to continue. This includes variations to the underlying cost of roaming, meaning we now have no visibility over the maximum amount it will cost us to provide a service for our customers to use their phone while abroad.

We want to keep our roaming pricing as simple and affordable for customers as possible, and we think a flat charge of £2 in the EU and £5 outside the EU reflects this. It also means only those who roam will pay for the service, rather than customers who stay in the UK also absorbing this cost.

We are investing billions of pounds in improving our network and infrastructure and already offer some of the most cost-effective deals on the market – implementing a separate roaming fee will enable us to continue to do this.

Three is the third UK operator to officially reintroduce roaming charges, following the swift U-turn by EE who introduced roaming charges in June of this year, swiftly followed by Vodafone.

Since 2017, mobile networks in EU countries have been banned by law from charging customers extra to use their phones in other member countries. Legislation scrapping roaming charges within the single market was introduced after multiple cases of so-called “bill shock”, in which holidaymakers returned home from foreign breaks to be presented with bills of thousands of pounds for using their phones to connect to the internet while abroad.

In January EE, O2, Three and Vodafone all said they had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges even though the UK’s departure from the EU enabled them to do so.

The trade deal between the UK and the EU states that both sides will encourage mobile operators to have “transparent and reasonable rates” when it comes to roaming.

At the time of publishing, O2 are the only major UK mobile carrier who has kept their promise and not reintroduced roaming fees. Currently, O2 says it has no intentions of jumping on the bandwagon and reintroducing the fees.

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