(Pocket-lint) – Having left the European Union in January 2021, the UK is no longer bound by EU mobile roaming rules. And that’s not great news for those wanting to continue to use their phones abroad.
Unless a deal is eventually struck between the UK and EU to enable British networks to use their European equivalents relatively surcharge-free, that means extra costs will be incurred and that is inevitably being passed on to the consumer.
However, not all UK mobile providers have opted to reintroduce EU roaming charges, while others are trying to keep the new costs within manageable levels.
Here’s everything you need to know about the reintroduction of roaming charges in Europe.
Which UK networks are reintroducing EU roaming charges?
Even though the big UK networks previously suggested they wouldn’t reintroduce EU roaming charges after Brexit, all but one are.
EE, Vodafone and Three have each announced plans to scrap free roaming this year.
Vodafone will bring charges back at the end of January 2022. EE will reintroduce charges from March 2022 (delayed from January). While Three is removing its Go Roam benefit from May 2022.
However, Virgin Media O2 has confirmed that it will not be reinstating EU roaming charges – enabling all customers on Virgin Mobile and O2 pay monthly, SIM-only and pay-as-you-go plans to continue to use their data, calls and texts limits in EU states as in the UK. There is a 25GB limit on data use for those on plans that usually offer more data per month.
How much will UK networks charge for EU roaming?
Here are the currently announced charges each network will charge when using your phone in Europe.
EE will charge a flat fee of £2 per day to use your current plan as you would in the UK.
Vidafone will also charge a flat fee of £2 per day, although you will also be able to purchase 8-day or 15-day bundles which will reduce the cost to around £1 per day.
Like the others, Three will charge £2 per day for EU roaming. It will also ensure nobody goes over a £45 limit on spending. Incidentally, it will also introduce a new £5 per day fee for roaming in non-EU countries, such as the USA.
A loophole discovered by Pocket-lint enables Three customers on one-month rolling contracts taken out before 1 October 2021 to continue to benefit from free roaming after May 2022, as long as they do not upgrade or renew the contract.
Virgin Media O2 (Virgin Mobile and O2)
Virgin Media O2 is committed to offering EU roaming at no extra cost for Virgin Mobile and O2 customers, no matter which price plan they are on.
There is a 25GB data limit though, which applies if your current plan usually has a higher data cap. Charges will be incurred at £3.50 per GB over that limit.
Pocket-lint is checking with other networks on EU roaming charges and will update when possible.
Is there a limit to how much I will be charged while roaming?
EU mobile operators are mandated to apply a financial limit for data roaming usage tp €50 euros – this is £45 in the UK. This has remained in place in the new UK legislation, so there’s no change there. Operators are also required to send an alert once you’ve reached 80 per cent and 100 per cent of your own data roaming limit – wherever in the world you are.
What countries are affected by the new EU roaming charges?
EE’s list (which is thought to be the same universally) is:
Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Canary Islands, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana Guyana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal (including Madeira), Reunion Islands, Romania, San Marino, Saint Martin (French), Saint Barthelemy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (including the Canary Islands), Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City (Italy).
It (and Three) counts the Republic of Ireland as a domestic location, so roaming charges aren’t applicable there.