UK mobile users could collectively be hit by up to £1.5bn per year in roaming charges after Brexit on October 31, the Liberal Democrats have claimed, and iNews reports. roaming after brexit
EU legislation abolishing roaming charges for people using mobile phones across the bloc came into force in June 2017, but once the UK leaves, providers will be free to re-introduce the fees should they wish. roaming after brexit
Roaming charges to return after Brexit?
In 2016, prior to the introduction of the “roam like at home” legislation, UK mobile operators amassed £350 million in roaming revenue from Britons travelling to European Economic Area countries, data collected by Ofcom shows.
Currently, UK consumers are saving as much as £1.5bn per year, or £51.47 per household, thanks to the roaming charges ban, according to Liberal Democrat calculations. Once the UK leaves the EU on 31 October, mobile users traveling abroad could expect their bills to rise significantly, the party says.
Those living near the Irish border or the Port of Dover risk being billed up to £45 per month – the maximum amount of money operators can charge customers—even if they don’t step off UK soil. This is due to inadvertent roaming, as people’s phones attach to data signals coming from Ireland and France.
Mobile operators under no obligation roaming after brexit
Although some mobile providers have said they will not reintroduce roaming fees after Brexit, others have made no such promise, and even those that have are under no obligation to keep their word.
“There’s still huge uncertainty about what Brexit will mean for mobile roaming charges,” said Steve Nowottny of the consumer website .
“The Government [has] warned if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, charges could return immediately.”
Firms not ruling out fees
Just two of 12 major UK mobile phone providers—Three and Smarty—have committed to keeping roaming in the EU free after Brexit, according to research published in February by MoneySavingExpert.
“While some firms say they have no plans to reintroduce roaming charges, fewer are happy to actually rule it out,” Mr Nowottny said.
What do the phone companies say?
Three said in a statement: “We’re committed to eradicating excessive roaming charges and will retain this great customer benefit regardless of Brexit negotiations, allowing our customers to continue using their usual allowances when they travel within the EU.”
EE said: “Our customers enjoy inclusive roaming in Europe, and we don’t have any plans to change this based on the Brexit outcome.”
Neither Vodafone nor O2 responded to requests for comment.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, & Sport said: “While leaving the EU without a deal would mean no longer being party to current EU rules on mobile roaming, the government will retain consumer protections, including rules requiring UK operators to take steps to prevent inadvertent roaming. roaming after brexit
“The continuation of surcharge-free roaming for UK citizens travelling in the EU after exit will be a commercial decision for the operators; however, they currently have no plans to reintroduce charges.”