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EE brings back roaming charges in Europe after Brexit

·2-min read
The mobile operator is the first to break ranks (Getty)
The mobile operator is the first to break ranks (Getty)

EE is to bring back roaming charges for new UK customers who use their phones in Europe from January.

It is the first mobile operator to make changes to how UK consumers are charged on the continent since the EU trade deal was struck last year.

The move comes despite EE insisting – along with other networks in January this year – that they had no plans to change terms after Brexit.

Mobile networks in EU countries cannot charge customers extra to use their phones in other parts of the bloc – an agreement that was reached in 2017.

Customers who join or upgrade with EE from 7 July will be charged £2 a day to use their allowances in 47 European countries. The charges will not apply in the Republic of Ireland.

For their £2 charge users will get access to their full data, minutes and text allowance.

Travellers can also pay £10 for a 30-day “roam abroad pass”.

On Wednesday O2 said that it will add a “fair use” restriction so that customers who use more than 25 gigabytes of data while in Europe will pay £3.50 for each further gigabyte they use.

However, this is distinct from roaming charges and fair use limits were an option for mobile operators when Britain was still part of the EU.

EE said that it will use the extra money generated from the charges to “support investment into our UK based customer service and leading UK network”.

Ernest Doku, from comparison site Uswitch, said that it was “hugely disappointing” that the situation after Brexit had changed.

“In the aftermath of Brexit, the UK’s biggest mobile providers all said that they had no immediate plans to change their charging models for consumers roaming within the EU.

“It’s hugely disappointing for consumers to see that situation change so quickly.

He speculated that other major networks could make similar changes.

“Unfortunately, when one provider makes such a bold decision it can mean that others follow, so we’ll be watching to see what O2, Vodafone and Three do next.”

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