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Plan to introduce roaming charges on Vodafone and EE delayed by technical problems

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Data roaming on holiday in the EU has become the norm for many (iStock/Getty Images)
Data roaming on holiday in the EU has become the norm for many (iStock/Getty Images)

Plans to hit UK travellers with roaming charges when they use their phones in the EU have been delayed by technical problems.

The first network expected to introduce the charges – Vodafone – had planned to bring in the fees from 6 January. Others were due to come later in 2022, with O2 the only network left without announced plans to start the charges.

But Vodafone has now delayed the plan until the end of January, the BBC reports. The network wants to be sure that it has fully tested the system and that it works as planned, it said.

EE was set to bring its own charges later in the month. They too have been delayed, until March, the BBC said.

Roaming charges have proven a controversial part of the UK’s exit from the European Union. Before Brexit, UK travellers were covered by rules that required networks to give the same coverage no matter where in the continent people were.

But the trade deal with the EU did not continue those protections. Instead, it only said that networks would be encouraged to charge “fair and transparent rates for international mobile roaming services”and left networks the option to introduce such charges.

While many networks did not initially announce plans to start charging travellers, and some publicly committed not to, gradually networks have changed their policies. Vodafone, EE, and Three all have plans to bring those charges in, leaving only O2 without a price increase on the way.

Travellers are however covered by new regulation from the UK government which aims to stop travellers being hit by surprise high bills. Roaming charges must be no more than £45, and customers must be warned when they are in danger of running up bills.

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