Now EE joins O2 in bringing back roaming charges
Now EE joins O2 in bringing back roaming charges: BT-owned mobile network announces customers will be charged £2 a day to use phone in the EU from next year
- EE will charge customers a daily fee from January 22 to use their phones abroad
- O2 yesterday confirmed it was introducing a fair use data cap of 25GB a month
- Roaming charges for Britons when travelling across Europe ended in June 2017
EE will charge British customers for mobile usage in the EU from next year, despite previously saying it had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges after Brexit.
The move will affect new customers and those upgrading from July 7, who face a £2 daily fee from January 2022 to use their data, minutes and text allowance when roaming in 47 European destinations.
BT-owned EE said the move is designed to ‘support investment into our UK-based customer service and leading UK network’.
It comes after O2 yesterday announced plans reintroduce some roaming charges – with Britons travelling to the EU charged £3.50 for every gigabyte used over 25GB.
Roaming charges when travelling across Europe ended in June 2017, allowing consumers to continue using their mobile plan in other EU nations at no additional cost, with a fair use limit.
EE will charge customers for mobile usage in other European countries from next year, despite previously saying it had no plans to reintroduce them after Brexit. Pictured: Stock image
The change will come as a blow to the Government as it grapples with other post-Brexit issues such as the ‘sausage war’ trade dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Under the UK’s Brexit trade agreement, it said both sides should ‘co-operate on promoting transparent and reasonable rates’ for mobile charges but a guarantee on free roaming was not carried forward.
Although network providers could choose to bring back charges once the UK had left the EU, the main four – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – initially said they had no plans to do so.
MP Philippa Whitford, the SNP’s shadow Europe spokesperson, said travellers from Scotland and the UK to the EU face ‘yet another Brexit bite and hefty charges all thanks to the Tories’ narrow Brexit vision’.
EE said people travelling abroad for longer will be able to use a 30-day Roam Abroad Pass, which could allow some to avoid the costs.
‘Essential plan customers will be able to take the Pass for £10, while Smart or Full Works plans customers are able to include the same pass as part of their plan,’ a spokesperson said.
Ernest Doku, a mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, said we must see whether Vodafone and Three follow suit.
‘It’s hugely disappointing for consumers to see that situation change so quickly,’ he said.
The move will affect new customers and those upgrading from July 7, who face a £2 daily fee from January 2022 to use their data, minutes and text allowance when roaming in 47 European destinations
O2 yesterday announced plans reintroduce some roaming charges for Britons travelling to the EU. From August, the network’s customers will face a £3.50 bill for every gigabyte used over 25GB
‘If you’re an existing EE customer, these charges won’t affect you yet, but make sure you check the small print if you’re due an upgrade in the coming months.
‘When it comes to travelling, don’t leave it till the last minute to check the roaming charges for your destination, and always use hotel and cafe wifi when on holiday where possible.’
It comes after O2 yesterday confirmed it was introducing a fair use data cap of 25GB a month when roaming in Europe, which would charge users who exceeded that monthly allowance.
The company said this would only impact around 1 per cent of its pay monthly customers – and a practice that is already common among mobile operators.
Three has also confirmed it will be lowering its fair use limit for those travelling in the EU.
‘Following a review of our fair use policy, we are making some changes to our Go Roam policy in the EU to bring it in line with our Go Roam Around the World fair use policy,’ the operator said.
‘This means from July 1 our fair use limit for data while in the EU will reduce from 20GB per month to 12GB.
‘The new fair use limit is still more than enough for holidaymakers to use their phone like they would if they were in the UK. There is no change to our surcharge, so data usage over 12GB (up to the customer’s allowance), will remain subject to a small fee of 0.3p per MB.’
Vodafone said it had ‘no current plans to change our approach to roaming in the EU’.
EE’s Europe roaming charges: What does it mean for my phone bill?
EE has become one of the first major UK mobile networks to bring back charges for customers who travel to Europe.
Free roaming came about in June 2017 when the UK was still in the EU, meaning people could use a reasonable amount of their existing package in other European countries without being stung by any extra charges.
Brexit meant operators could reimpose charges, though the main four – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – said they had no plans to.
We explain what the change means for your mobile bill when travelling abroad.
Who will it affect?
New EE customers who join from July 7 will face a charge for using their data, making calls, or sending text messages.
Though it does not include existing customers, anyone who upgrades and renews their contract from the same date will also have to pay (so if your contract ends and you leave it rolling and unchanged, you will not fall under the new rules).
But the charges do not come into effect until January 2022.
What are the costs?
A flat fee of £2 per day will apply to use your full EE data, minutes and text allowance when travelling to affected countries in the EU.
Depending on how long you intend to travel, it could work out cheaper getting a 30-day Roam Abroad Pass.
The pass costs £10 for those with an Essential plan, but people using the Smart or Full Works packages can add it at no extra cost, as long as it is added before you travel.
This can be done via text message or within the Smart Benefits section of the My EE app – for full instructions, visit EE’s website.
What countries does it include?
The charges will apply to 47 European destinations, with the exception of the Republic of Ireland.
To avoid any doubt, this is the full list of places: 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 Canary Islands), Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City (Italy).
What about other networks?
The other main operators – Three and Vodafone – have avoided going down the same route, so far.
For now, they are sticking to fair use limits, which is not out of the ordinary, as this is in line with existing EU rules.
Three’s fair use cap is being lowered from 20GB to 12GB a month from July.
O2 and Vodafone have both opted for 25GB.
What should I do to avoid charges?
EE customers should consider adding the 30-day Roam Abroad Pass before travel for longer trips in EU countries.
Many hotels and restaurants offer free wifi these days, so make good use of that.
You could look into switching to another network provider.
Ensure roaming data is switched off in your smartphone’s settings if unsure to avoid any nasty surprises.
Or ultimately, switch your phone off altogether and enjoy your trip without any disturbances.
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