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EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have no plans to introduce roaming charges

Post-Brexit trade deal does not guarantee free mobile roaming throughout the bloc,

Earlier this year, the United Kingdom left the European Union (EU) and entered a transition phase where things more or less stayed the same. From January, the UK enters a new relationship with the EU which could technically see the re-introduction of roaming charges for travellers to the mainland.

Under EU laws, consumers have been able to use their mobile phones in other member states with no additional charges, provided they stick to fair use policies.

What’s more, the post-Brexit trade deal does not guarantee free mobile roaming throughout the bloc, which means that mobile operators could introduce fees for UK users using their phone in EU countries.

However, the agreement urges providers to charge “transparent and reasonable rates” for roaming.

The government has already put some safeguards in place to ensure consumers are not charged extortionate rates. These include:

  • A £45-per-month cap on data roaming charges before customers are required to opt in for further use
  • Operators must inform customers when they have reached 80 per cent and 100 per cent of their data allowance
  • Operators must take “reasonable steps” to ensure customers are not charged for accidental roaming in Northern Ireland (e.g. if a phone connected to a signal originating in the Republic of Ireland)

The government has told consumers to check with their operator for any potential new charges as the changes mean the onus is on the mobile operators to decide whether or not to introduce roaming charges for EU customers. But just because the companies are now able to hike fees, it doesn’t mean that they will.

All four UK networks, EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, say they have no plans to introduce roaming charges. This means Brits can keep using their phones without the worry of hefty bills. However, there is no guarantee that they will maintain this policy indefinitely.

“Our customers enjoy inclusive roaming in Europe and beyond, and we don’t have any plans to change this based on the Brexit outcome,” an EE spokesperson said. “So our customers travelling to the EU will continue to benefit from inclusive roaming.”

O2 said: “We’re committed to providing our customers with great connectivity and value when they travel outside the UK. We currently have no plans to change our roaming services across Europe.”

A spokesperson for Vodafone said the company had no plans to introduce roaming charges.

Three said: “Three is the global leader in international roaming and already offers roaming at no extra cost for its customers in over 70 destinations including the US, Australia and New Zealand. We will retain this great customer benefit regardless of Brexit negotiations allowing our customers to continue using their phones when they travel within the EU.”

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