Phone bills are set to soar for Irish roaming customers travelling North or across the Irish Sea in the wake of a hard Brexit and this is because the European Union’s cheap roaming regulation will no longer apply to the UK telecoms giants after Brexit.
Consumer advocates are warning we have to “presuppose the worst scenario” and brace ourselves for shocking price hikes, bringing us back to the Rip-off Republic of days gone by, Irish Mirror reports.
And the Consumers’ Association of Ireland is warning if the phone companies “see a chink” that could allow them to hike prices again, they will likely exploit it straight away.
A spokesman for ComReg said: “In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the EU Roam Like At Home regulation would no longer apply to the United Kingdom. “Charges for roaming in the United Kingdom would become a commercial choice for operators to make. “In this scenario ComReg would no longer have the power to regulate roaming charges to the UK but we would continue to ensure that operators met applicable regulatory obligations in areas such as price transparency and contract change notifications.”
The long battle fought in Europe to get the mega-rich phone companies to end the fleecing of Irish users on holidays or business in the UK may now all have been in vain and this is because the EU law that forced the industry into line won’t apply in the North or Britain anymore.
The knock-on effect is that when we travel there we won’t be covered by the EU regulation protections.
Chief executive of the CAI, Dermott Jewell, is warning this really means the door is wide open for the return of rip-off roaming prices. He said: “We asked the question [of the telecoms firms] and the general feeling was that there would be no bad will, but that statement gives very little comfort it has to be said, that there are no plans. “It needs to be recalled that to get border free roaming across the line took immense engagement. “And if there’s a chink now opening up you have to worry about somebody breaking rank and I think that has to be considered as realistic.”