Roaming charges return for UK mobile phone users – Forbes Advisor UK

UPDATE January 6: Mobile networks defer roaming charges

Vodafone and EE have both pushed back dates when they were to reintroduce roaming charges in the EU, according to a report.

The BBC says Vodafone will now reintroduce roaming charges at the end of January, having initially planned to bring them back today, while EE will only reintroduce the charges in March, two months later than it previously announced (see article below).

Vodafone said it needed more time for testing before the fee was implemented, while EE attributed the delay to technical issues.

Prior to the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU), Brits traveling to EU member states could use their phone’s call, text and data permissions just as they would at home. However, under the terms of the trade deal negotiated by the UK government in 2020, mobile operators now have the option to reinstate roaming charges.

Three plans to reintroduce roaming charges in May, while O2 has yet to announce plans for new roaming charges for its customers.


New and upgrading Vodafone customers will incur mobile roaming charges from today when the network operator reintroduces these charges early next year.

This decision affects UK customers who use their handsets in mainland Europe. This follows a similar announcement, made in June by rival network EE, which said it would also reintroduce roaming charges in 2022.

The decisions mark the U-turns of two of the UK’s biggest network operators. Earlier this year, the UK’s Big Four: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone each said they would not bring back roaming costs after Brexit.

Vodafone’s announcement means new and upgrade customers who use their phones in the European Union will have to pay a fee of at least £ 1 per day in the new year.

Pay for the passes

From 6 January 2022, Vodafone users without free roaming in their mobile contract will have the option to pay for daily plans at £ 2 or eight and 15 day plans at £ 8 and £ 15 respectively.

Also from next year, EE will impose a daily roaming charge of £ 2 to 47 European destinations and territories for new customers who joined the network after July 7. The fees will also apply to existing EE customers who have upgraded their contracts after this date.

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O2 currently allows its customers a 25 GB roaming limit and charges £ 3.50 per gigabyte for all data used on top of that. Three customers in Europe can use up to 12 GB of their data allowance at no additional cost.

Karen Egan, senior telecommunications analyst at telecommunications research firm Enders Analysis, called Vodafone’s move “inevitable.” She said rival operator Virgin Media O2, as well as virtual network providers such as Tesco Mobile and Sky, were likely expected to now follow suit by reintroducing roaming charges.

Ahmed Essam, CEO of Vodafone in the UK, defended the move, saying the majority of Vodafone’s customers were not homeless.

He said: “We think it’s fairer to give people more choice over what they pay, either by going for a pricing plan that includes free roaming, or by paying for roaming only when. ‘they are roaming. Otherwise, people who rarely or never go abroad end up paying for something they don’t use.

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