The reintroduction of EU roaming fees opens new possibilites for eSIM providers

Some have viewed Virgin Media O2‘s decision not to follow competitor mobile providers in restoring mobile roaming costs for customers traveling within the European Union (EU) as opportunistic, although the new tariffs could create  an opportunity for eSIM providers. EU roaming fees reintroduction

As the United Kingdom prepared to leave the EU, the European Parliament extended its Roam
 Like At Home policy for another ten years, ensuring that member states would not be charged for roaming. 
As result, roaming costs for consumers traveling to Europe have been reinstated by three of the four major UK cell companies.

For example, EE decided that consumers who signed up for plan that included pay monthly device or SIM on or after July 7, 2021, would be charged daily fee for using their phone in its European roaming zone. From March 3,   2022, the operator will begin charging EU roaming fees.

Despite this, Virgin Media O2 has indicated that it will not reintroduce roaming costs in Europe, making it the UK’s  only big-four mobile network to do so.
Virgin Media o2 customers will be able to keep their inclusive roaming in Europe Zones, allowing them to travel  around Europe and utilize their data, calls, and texts exactly like they would in the UK.
It is also claimed to be considering imposing a “fair usage” penalty if consumers exceed their data allocation of 25GB, with a  price of £3.50 per GB if the allowance is surpassed.
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,” said Virgin Media O2’s chief commercial officer for mobile, Gareth Turpin. “Unlike all the other major mobile networks that are bringing back roaming fees, we will not be following suit. 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.”

And as businesses face cost increases for workers travelling throughout the UK, eSIM providers are lining up to take advantage, offering alternative data plans for UK consumers traveling abroad. eSIMs fundamentally allow modern smartphone users to activate a mobile data plan without the installation of a physical card.

An eSIM data plan allows users to call, send SMS, send photos and videos via communication applications such as WhatsApp, and even connect tablets and laptops. Users can combine multiple eSIM profiles from different operators and switch between them in the device settings. Providers also claim that eSIM offers a safer, more secure connection than Wi-Fi.

First out of the blocks for eSIM providers has been global cellular connectivity provider Ubigi, which provides eSIM data plans in 180+ countries to travellers with eSIM-compatible smartphones such as iPhone 11/12/13/XS/XR/SE, Samsung S20/S21, Pixel 3/4/5/6, tablets including iPad Mini/Air/Pro, Surface Pro, and a number of laptops operating on Windows 10 and 11. EU roaming fees reintroduction

In what it called a response to UK travellers’ concerns, Ubigi has calculated that by using the average data usage by its UK consumers in July/August 2021 (2.6GB), an average consumer traveling in Europe would be most likely to buy a 30-day 3GB eSIM data plan costing £6, significantly less than what is charged by the traditional operators, even Virgin Media O2.


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