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How might Brexit impact roaming charges for all mobile users and networks?

Posted on Aug 13, 2018.

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Since June 2017 the additional charges for roaming on a smartphone were scrapped by the European Union when traveling to another EU country.

With fair use limits applied, this has allowed mobile phone users to continue using the minutes, texts and data on their existing contracts when traveling within the EU.

This was a widely welcomed changed as previously roaming charges were considered an expensive way to stay in touch in an increasingly digital world. 

The planned date the UK is set to leave the EU is on 29 March 2019,  as this date draws closer many travelers are concerned what will happen next to the popular changes to roaming charges.  Many are concerned these charges will return after Brexit when the UK will no longer part of the EU's Digital Single Market.

What will happen after this date?

With a withdrawal agreement in place, the changes will not happen immediately. The EU rules and regulations that are currently in place will continue to apply until a transition period is complete ending on 31st December 2020.

After this date however the European regulation that has saved consumers money by prohibiting roaming charges will not automatically be part of UK law. UK mobile network operators will, therefore, be able to reintroduce the charges if they want to.

As we wait to hear the outcome of the UK-EU deal which is yet to be negotiated the networks themselves have been already been considering how they will handle this transition.

Most networks have expressed that a feeling of uncertainty around the subject until full details of the separation from the EU digital marketplace is in place. Vodafone, for example, have told the BBC "it is too soon to assess the implications of Brexit on roaming regulation"

O2 have already declared that they currently have no plans to change their roaming services across Europe. This comes after engaging with the government with regards to what may happen once the UK officially leaves the EU.

 

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