EU Exit: Telecoms
Information on the impact EU Exit will have to telecom services.
Last updated: 2 September 2021
Have data roaming charges changed since Brexit?
Yes – Since 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free roaming for UK mobile users in 47 destinations in the EU including Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein has ended.
It is up to each individual phone operator to decide what they will charge for cross border calls and data usage. You should find out from your operator if you will experience roaming charges when travelling in the future.
If you are travelling abroad, you can limit any roaming charges by turning off your mobile data roaming and using Wi-Fi where possible. Streaming live television or sending video clips (MMS) could be expensive since they use large amounts of mobile data.
Visit the GOV.UK website for more information.
What are the current EU data roaming charges from phone operators?
EE are changing their roaming charges from January 2022. This means customers joining or upgrading from 7 July 2021 will pay £2 per day to use their usual allowances while roaming in EU countries. This charge will not apply if you travel to the Republic of Ireland.
O2 roaming charges are included in a customer’s allowance, so you can use your normal minutes, data and texts at no extra cost when travelling within the EU (including Republic of Ireland). If your UK monthly data allowance is over 25GB, however, you’ll have a Roaming Limit of 25GB when using your device in Europe. You can still use all of your total UK monthly allowance of data if you exceed this limit, but you will be charged £3.50 per GB used above 25GB.
Three roaming charges are included in a customer’s allowance, so you can use your normal minutes, data and texts at no extra cost when travelling within the EU (including Republic of Ireland). If your UK monthly data allowance is over 12GB, however, you’ll have a roaming limit of 12GB when using your device in Europe. If you go over your limit (or 12GB if your UK monthly data allowance is more than that) surcharges will apply.
Vodafone are changing their roaming charges from 6 January 2022. This means if you have joined or upgraded from 11 August 2021, you will pay £2 per day to use their usual allowances while roaming in EU countries. This charge will not apply if you travel to the Republic of Ireland.
Virgin Mobile roaming charges are included at no extra cost within your data allowance. You can use your device wherever you go in the EU (including ROI) and pay no more for your texts, data and minutes than you would in the UK.
Sky Mobile customers can use their devices in the EU (including ROI) at no extra cost. Data used will come out of your UK data plan.
BT Mobile customers can use their devices in the EU (including ROI) at no extra cost. ‘Roam Like Home’ is available to all BT Mobile customers at no extra cost.
Tesco Mobile customers can use their devices in the EU (including ROI) at no extra cost. They have said there are no plans to introduce roaming charges for customers travelling to the EU.
Are there limits to what can be charged?
Yes – currently a £45 per month limit could be charged for using mobile data abroad before having to opt into further use.
Phone operators are also required to inform consumers when they reach 80 per cent and 100 per cent of data allowance.
The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement states that parties shall “cooperate on promoting transparent and reasonable rates” for international roaming services. Details on this can be found on the GOV.UK website.
Northern Ireland Border charges
EE and Vodafone are currently the only phone providers to issue plans for roaming charges and have stated that the Republic of Ireland will be exempt from the charges that will be introduced in January 2022.
The government has passed legislation to make sure operators continue to make information available to their customers on how to avoid accidental roaming in border regions. Operators will be required to take reasonable steps to protect their customers from paying roaming charges for inadvertently accessing roaming services.
More information is available on the GOV.UK website.