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Roaming charges in a post-Brexit Europe

Back in June 2017, the European Union scrapped additional charges for roaming on smartphones when travelling within its area. Since then, UK mobile phone users have been able to use their phone, as usual, without any extra charges to their tariff. Unfortunately, the process of leaving the EU has been more staggered and drawn out than many expected, meaning that this legislation is open to change and roaming charges could well increase after Brexit.

When the UK eventually leaves the EU, we could see some changes to how people are charged for using their mobile phone abroad. If you regularly work within Europe, you may be asking yourself how Brexit will affect UK business travellers working abroad. Similarly, if you are a tourist planning to travel to Europe you may be concerned about the risk of mobile roaming charges increasing post-Brexit.

Will roaming charges return after Brexit?

Many people have been asking whether or not these pricey roaming charges will return after we finally leave the European Union. If we leave with an agreed withdrawal agreement, then any changes to roaming charges will not happen immediately. The current EU regulations will continue to apply until the end of the transition period on the 31st December 2020, which may even be extended for one to two years.

If we find ourselves in the event of a no-deal Brexit, former Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright confirmed that mobile operators would be able to reintroduce charges. However, he insisted that the Government will try to legislate a cap of £45 a month for using data abroad, and those operators will be obliged to let people know when they've reached 80-100% of their data allowances. Some operators have said that they'll consider what action to take in due course, whereas others have stated that they have to introduce immediate plans for a no-deal Brexit.

Brexit Word Image

What have networks said about roaming charges after Brexit?

Several UK companies have actually said they may continue to offer the benefit of free roaming to their customers which is great news; including Three and Smarty (which is owned by Three). These two providers have categorically ruled out reintroducing roaming charges after Brexit. In a statement Three have said free roaming will remain regardless of Brexit negotiations and customers will be able to use "their usual allowances when they travel within the EU".

Mobile phone companies including Vodaphone and 02 have specified that they don't plan to make changes and are working closely with the Government and other European operators to try and protect the current arrangements. Virgin Mobile have assured their customers that they are "monitoring the progress of Brexit negotiations closely" and will notify them in advance of any changes to its roaming policy after Brexit.

Mobile-network giant, EE, have issued a statement on their website surrounding the on-going debate regarding post-Brexit roaming charges, stating that they don't wish for anything to change:

    "We've been having positive conversations with [their] European partners for over a year to ensure [they] can continue to provide inclusive roaming" and "[they'll] continue those discussions and negotiations, so the great experience you enjoy today continues".

If you are planning a trip and are keen to keep your mobile phone protected along the journey then check out Holiday Extras' travel insurance with Gadget cover included as standard with our Platinum level cover, which is perfect for travellers looking for top of the range cover levels for themselves and their tech. Our Platinum policies have been 5 Star rated by Defaqto which means our Platinum cover provides one of the highest quality offerings on the market.

It's essential you check for updates with your current phone provider if you're planning a trip to Europe and would like to enjoy carefree browsing whilst you're there!

Holiday Extras Brexit Disruption Cover

We want to ensure that no matter where and when you're travelling, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, you can have enhanced protection. That's where Holiday Extras Brexit Disruption Cover comes in.

Brexit Disruption Cover is available as an add-on to your travel insurance policy. To book, simply complete your initial travel insurance booking and select Brexit Disruption Cover from the list of optional add-ons. Alternatively, if you'd prefer to speak to someone, call our Kent-based call centre on 0800 316 0104, and one of our agents can talk you through the process. For a complete rundown, visit our Brexit Disruption cover page.

Further advice on how Brexit could affect your travel

If you found this page on Brexit data roaming charges useful, then please read through a few of our other top Brexit guides for further helpful information.

All information correct as of September 2019. Sources: the UK Government website, BBC website and Money Saving Expert website.

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