Following Brexit, some UK mobile operators started charging customers extra to use their mobile plans in Europe. EE was the first mobile operator in the UK to introduce normal roaming charges following Brexit, though it had previously said that it was not going to reintroduce roaming charges in Europe. Vodafone previously introduced European roaming for “heavy” users, referring to those users as customers who use their phone in an EU country for more than 60 days in a four-month period. Now, Virgin Media has reaffirmed its stance that they will not be re-introducing roaming charges in the EU, which includes O2 — a company it recently merged with.
“We’re starting the year by giving our customers some certainty: we will not be reintroducing roaming fees in Europe for customers on O2 or Virgin Mobile,” said Gareth Turpin, chief commercial officer, in a statement to the BBC.
“With many Brits now looking to plan a trip abroad, we’ve got our customers covered and extra roaming charges will be one less thing to worry about.”
Consumers on other operators who travel to the EU could see large expenses that they previously weren’t used to. For example, Three is set to re-introduce its fees in May, and customers who joined EE after July 7 2021 face a £2 daily roaming charge. Vodafone will also charge the same fee for anyone who joined the network or renewed their contract after 11th August. Both companies are offering deals to avoid the fee.
Sue Davies, head of consumer protection policy at Which?, said it was “reassuring” that Virgin Media O2 was giving reassurances to customers who may face uncertainty about the scope of their mobile plans.
“As the UK continues to negotiate trade deals, it should take the opportunity to lower the cost of roaming for consumers travelling around the world,” she added.
“The UK and EU should also work to strike a deal on roaming charges to stop companies chipping away at the roaming benefits customers have become used to and to ensure the high charges people used to face do not return.”
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