EU roaming charges: Vodafone, EE, Three, Virgin and O2’s stance on reintroducing fees for travelling to Europe

Several networks have announced plans to reintroduce fees for people travelling to Europe after Brexit

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Customers travelling to Europe this year may face roaming charges depending on their mobile network.

Before Brexit, users were able to call, text, and use data in their mobile plan in any EU country after roaming charges were removed in 2017.

However, once the EU trade deal was confirmed in December 2020 this gave mobile operators the ability to reintroduce charges.

Consumer champion Which? urges the UK and EU to "strike a deal" on these charges.

What mobile networks will have roaming charges?

Vodafone, EE and Three are set to reintroduce roaming fees this year for customers travelling to Europe.

Vodafone plans to bring back the charges at the end of January while EE is set to in March.

The mobile network Three will also reintroduce fees, bringing them back in May.

Both Vodafone and EE delayed introducing the charges earlier because of testing and technical difficulties.

How much will the roaming charge be?

Customers who joined or upgraded to EE after 7 July 2021 will face a £2 daily roaming charge in EU countries.

Vodafone will charge the same fee for people who joined the network after 11 August or upgraded or renewed their contract.

Both companies, however, will offer deals to avoid the roaming charge.

EE customers will be able to buy a 30-day roaming pass for £10 and those with Vodafone can purchase an eight or 15-day pass by paying £1 a day.

Three will introduce a £2 daily charge for people who joined or upgraded after 1 October 2021.

What networks will not introduce roaming charges?

Those with Virgin Mobile or O2 will not face roaming charges.

This means users will still be able to use their mobile data, make calls and texts on the same deal they have in the UK when travelling to anywhere in Europe.

Sue Davies, head of consumer protection policy at Which?, said it is "reassuring" that Virgin Media O2 (the company that owns the Virgin Mobile and O2 networks) offer some certainty to its customers.

Ms Davies added: "As the UK continues to negotiate trade deals, it should take the opportunity to lower the cost of roaming for consumers travelling around the world," she added.

"The UK and EU should also work to strike a deal on roaming charges to stop companies chipping away at the roaming benefits customers have become used to and to ensure the high charges people used to face do not return."

What’s been said?

The Virgin Media O2 company said a family of four going abroad for two weeks could see an extra £100 on their bill, based on the analysis of rates from other providers.

The chief commercial officer, Gareth Turpin, said: "We’re starting the year by giving our customers some certainty: we will not be reintroducing roaming fees in Europe for customers on O2 or Virgin Mobile.

"With many Brits now looking to plan a trip abroad, we’ve got our customers covered and extra roaming charges will be one less thing to worry about."

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