EE, O2, Vodafone and Three WON’T start charging customers to use mobile data in Europe when the Brexit transition period ends on January 1
- The UK’s four main mobile providers said there are no plans for roaming charges
- This will apply to users on pay monthly, SIM-only and pay-as-you-go contracts
- Roaming charges were abolished across European member states in June 2017
- The Brexit transition period for Britain and Europe ends on December 31, 2020
Mobile providers EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have all confirmed that they will not start charging UK customers to use mobile data in Europe after December 31, 2020.
It had previously been unclear whether those travelling to the continent after the Brexit transition period ends would be subject to roaming charges.
However, it appears that — at least for the immediate future — those on both pay monthly, SIM-only or pay-as-you-go contracts will not be struck with additional fees.
Mobile providers EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have all confirmed that they will not start charging UK customers to use mobile data in Europe after December 31, 2020
Since June 2017, all European citizens within the European Economic Area have benefited from the abolition of roaming charges when temporarily visiting other countries within the continent.
Because of this, UK citizens have been able to enjoy, for example, checking their email in France and making a video call home from Germany for the same prices under their contract as if they were doing so within Britain.
This arrangement allows people to continue to enjoy their customary levels of connectivity and internet activity even when visiting our neighbours in Europe.
‘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 confirmed the company had ‘no plans to reintroduce roaming charges’.
Meanwhile, 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.’
For providers like Virgin — which offer their services across Europe — there is no specific need to impose roaming charges on customers visiting Europe from the UK, or vice versa, which could be met with consumer resistance.
Smaller providers, meanwhile, have the possibility to strike bilateral deals between themselves in order to keep roaming free for their customers.
The Brexit deal struck last week by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson contains no provisions that would prevent these major service providers from changing their minds and introducing new roaming charges at a later date.
However, the Government has explained, the deal does harbour ‘measures to encourage cooperation on the promotion of fair and transparent rates for international mobile roaming’.
‘It also covers obligations on net neutrality, which fulfils the UK’s dual aims of securing commitments towards an open internet and protecting the safety of users online,’ it added.