Before the European Union scrapped additional roaming charges in 2017, using a mobile phone abroad in Europe was expensive. Bills would easily add up
Before the European Union scrapped additional roaming charges in 2017, using a mobile phone abroad in Europe was expensive. Bills would easily add up – even reaching hundreds of pounds – as people stayed connected.
Since 2017, consumers and businesses alike have enjoyed using their minutes, texts and data that is included on their mobile tariffs when travelling to the EU. What’s better, is that if you go over your tariff’s limits, you’ll only be charged your standard network rate rather than incur roaming charges. However, the big question is, will this all change after Brexit?
If there is a deal
In the event that the UK reaches a deal with the EU, surcharge-free roaming would continue throughout the Implementation Period, states Gov.co.uk. This means EU regulations regarding mobile data will still apply until 31st December 2020, when the transition period is due to end.
Free roaming could potentially last longer than this, as the transition period could be extended. However, as Gov.co.uk goes on to explain, whether or not free roaming will continue after the transition period would depend on the outcome of the negotiations of the Future Economic Partnership.
If there’s no deal
However, there is always the danger of a no deal Brexit. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, mobile operators will be able to implement roaming charges, reports BBC. This, unfortunately, means roaming could return immediately.
EU mobile operators will be able to charge UK firms for providing services. Unfortunately, this cost could be passed on to customers, which may lead to the end of free roaming in the EU. If mobile operators do decide to re-introduce roaming charges, then they will be able to decide what fees they want to charge.
Should roaming charges return, the government will, however, put a £45-a-month cap on the amount that customers can be charged for using their data abroad. This is to protect consumers from unexpected charges, meaning that if you cannot continue to use data services unless you actively choose to continue spending.
What you need to know
Though some mobile operators have stated they have no current plans to change their policies on mobile roaming following Brexit, there is still a chance they could bring roaming charges back in the future. Free roaming in the EU might not continue to be a standard offered in every mobile phone package.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it’s important to check the roaming policies of your mobile operator before you go abroad. If your operator hasn’t changed its policy, then you’ll continue to benefit from free roaming.
However, if your operator does bring back roaming charges, then this could cause financial strain, particularly for businesses. For businesses, making and receiving international calls is not uncommon. A missed call can come at a cost – this article explains the issues with missing calls – so you might want to look for alternate ways of making international calls where possible.