What happens to mobile roaming if there is no Brexit deal?

What happens to mobile roaming if there is no Brexit deal?

   September 14, 2018  
 
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What happens to mobile roaming if there is no Brexit deal?

Today, the Government has released a paper which looks at what consumers could face when using their mobile phone in the EU, should Number 10 fail to reach an agreement with Brussels.

If the UK was to leave the European Union with no deal, the popular ‘roam like at home’ legislation, which allows holidaymakers to enjoy the same costs for using their mobile phone abroad as they would at home, would no longer be protected under UK law. Providers would be free to charge what they wish.

The government stated that legislation would be drawn up to make sure that mobile phone operators such as EE and O2 would have to apply a cap on mobile data usage while abroad, something which already exists within EU laws. However, free roaming when you travel to the EU could no longer be guaranteed.

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Why could roaming costs return?

As the Government has decided to leave the decisions on how much it would cost to roam in the EU in the hands of the mobile phone operators, any continuation of ‘roam like at home’ would depend on the goodwill of companies.

Some operators, such as Three and Vodafone, have come out publicly and said that ‘roam like at home’ will continue whether there is a deal or not, and there is no suggestion that much would change in the short term.

However, looking ahead, this position can change depending on how cost-effective this is for operators.

When on holiday, EU operators charge your home operator a fee when UK tourists use their phone. Under “Roam like at home”, that cost is capped but if the UK was to leave with no agreement, this cap would no longer apply. In order to keep “roam like at home” going, it is likely a similar mutual cap would have to be agreed for it to be cost effective for mobile operators.

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