United Kingdom – The Return of the Roaming Economy

It wasn’t long ago that major UK mobile operators announced that they had no plans to re-impose roaming charges after Brexit. At the beginning of the year they unanimously declared that nothing would change in the UK despite leaving the EU. But now the first company does not want to know anything more. The EE provider, which belongs to the BT Group, announced that it will be charged for phone calls, SMS messages and data usage in other European countries for contracts from July 7. From 2022 onwards, UK customers will have to pay 2 pounds per day if they use their mobile phones in the EU and some other European countries.

After Brexit, the return of roaming charges is one of the most noticeable changes in everyday British life so far. And now back what the EU canceled in 2017. Until recently, the fact that you don’t have to pay anything extra when making calls in other EU countries also applied in the UK, which still follows EU rules until the end of the Brexit transition phase. from the European Union. But since the beginning of the year, companies in Great Britain no longer have to abide by it. The Free Trade Agreement signed by London and Brussels in December 2020 states: “The two parties should work together to promote transparent and reasonable tariffs for international mobile roaming in order to promote the growth of trade between the two parties and benefit the consumer to improve.”

The fact that mobile service providers EE, O2, Vodafone and Three had initially announced that they would voluntarily waive roaming charges was economically surprising. After all, mobile phone providers have made a lot of money for years. From a business point of view, EE’s decision to raise fees again is understandable. The decision is unlikely to benefit the “consumer welfare” mentioned in the trade agreement; Although EE claims that roaming revenue will now contribute to “investment in UK customer service and our leading UK network”.

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EE alone with that. However, rival O2 has announced an upper limit for free roaming within EU countries. Anyone who needs more than 25 GB of data per month will have to pay an additional fee. It should soon become clear how Vodafone and Three providers are reacting to this. German customers advise consumers to find out from their mobile operator how much roaming charges are again incurred when they travel to Great Britain.

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