UK mobile providers and EU roaming fees

Approximately 50% of Brits consider EU roaming charges unfair

According to a survey by UK operator Virgin Media O2, half of the British population believes that it is unjust to have to pay extra roaming charges for using their mobile phones while traveling in Europe. UK mobile providers and EU roaming fees

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Virgin Media O2 is the only major UK mobile provider that has not reintroduced the EU roaming fees after Brexit. Its Chief Commercial Officer stated that the company is proud to offer inclusive EU roaming and save customers money.

Gareth Turpin, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “We know that many people will be cost-conscious when going on holiday this year, so we’re proud to stand out as the only major mobile provider to continue offering inclusive EU roaming, already saving our customers money and providing more value to those travelling post-pandemic.

Whilst we’re not able to remove fees on sunbeds and airplane seats, hopefully not having to worry about roaming fees will upgrade the holiday experience for our customers – whether it is treating themselves to a nice meal or splashing out and ordering that extra cocktail by the pool.” 

Before Brexit, several UK operators claimed that they would not bring back EU roaming fees but some of them, including Three UK, went back on their promise and reintroduced fees.

Three UK was long seen as a pioneer in free roaming. Even prior to the EU making roaming free within the bloc for citizens, Three had its ‘Feel at Home’ initiative that allowed customers to use their devices in countries in the EU and beyond – including the US, Hong Kong, and more – without incurring additional charges.

But it’s not just operators breaking their promises. The UK government had previously stated that it would prevent operators from reintroducing roaming fees if they tried.

While serving as Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab – who is now the UK’s deputy prime minister – said the government would prevent operators from reintroducing roaming fees if they attempted to do so.

“We would legislate for a limit on roaming charges to make sure in a no-deal scenario we would protect British consumers,” Raab told the BBC in 2018.

“We’ve had some good news from businesses, like Vodafone and Three, they’ve publicly said they won’t introduce roaming fees for UK consumers travelling on the continent.” UK mobile providers and EU roaming fees

Despite being seen as unfair by half of the Brits, paying extra for roaming is the second biggest hidden holiday fee, after using credit cards abroad. Virgin Media O2 calculates that its free EU roaming saves a family of four about £100 on a two-week trip. The survey found that 51% of Brits would use the savings to have a nice meal, while 19% would update their holiday wardrobe or buy extra cocktails.



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