EE bringing back roaming charges for travel in Europe

25 Jun 2021

Image: © nenetus/Stock.adobe.com

The operator is excluding Ireland from the Brexit-related plans, but customers travelling elsewhere in Europe will be charged £2 a day.

British mobile network operator EE is reintroducing roaming charges for customers travelling in the EU, with the exception of Ireland.

BT-owned EE will charge new and upgrading customers £2 a day to use services in mainland Europe from January.

This is a backtrack on a previous commitment from EE that it would not bring back roaming charges.

With the UK exiting the EU, it is no longer a part of the European ban on roaming charges – or ‘roam like home’ – which came into effect in June 2017. Following Brexit, questions lingered over whether British mobile networks would maintain the ban on roaming charges.

The EU-UK trade deal only notes that mobile operators on both sides should have “transparent and reasonable rates” for roaming.

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EE will not include Ireland in its new roaming charges. The operator said this is to facilitate customers in Northern Ireland that may connect to mobile signal towers across the border. This is likely to meet UK government regulations that stipulate a provider must take “reasonable steps” to avoid Northern Irish customers being charged when their phone connects to a tower in the Republic.

Other mobile networks in the UK have not imposed roaming charges but O2 has said it will introduce a ‘fair use’ charge on customers that use more than 25GB of data on their travels in a month. Those fees come into effect in August.

Vodafone and Three said they have no plans to introduce roaming charges.

The UK government has passed legislation that requires a £45 monthly limit on roaming charges for mobile data.

British operators could strike deals with operators in EU countries to provide inclusive roaming. It also remains to be seen if European operators will introduce roaming charges for customers travelling to the UK.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

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