EU Roaming Charges Return

EU Roaming Charges Return

How to avoid roaming charges when EU Roaming Charges return in 2022

Returning home from an overseas holiday (remember those?) can be hard!
After two glorious weeks of sun, sea and sangria, the return to work and reality can send you hurtling back to Earth with a tremendous thud. It wasn’t that long ago when the post-holiday blues were made even worse when the mobile phone bill arrived.

Using a mobile phone abroad, whether on holiday or on business, could cause serious damage to the bank balance. A few texts, downloading some music and a quick browse on the Internet could add up to a nasty surprise.

In 2015, research revealed that more than nine million UK mobile users were caught out by “bill-shock” after using their phones in EU countries. Collectively, annual UK bills were £573million higher than usual, and 17% of travellers received bill hikes of more than £100.

In the same year, the EU announced that roaming charges would be banished, with phone customers being charged their usual rates no matter which EU country they were in.  However, the UK has now roamed out of the EU exit door and out of the roaming charges agreement. And in June, EE announced new charges for European usage.

Does this mean, just as the world starts to re-open, that the nightmare of unexpected roaming mobile bills will return?


Why are EU Roaming Charges returning?

When you land in a foreign country, your phone picks up an overseas (“visited”) network service. The visited network communicates with your home network. Take the example of sending a text. Potentially charges are made up of:

  •   The wholesale charge for using the visited network;
  •   Costs of handling and routing the roaming SMS back to the home network;
  •   Costs for sending the SMS to the receiver’s network;
  •   Data clearing house fees;
  •   Signaling fees between the networks and other costs;
  •   The home operator’s retail costs and VAT.


Understandably, your network would be quite keen to charge you roaming fees for this.
The EU prevented the networks from doing this, but now we have left the EU, the consumer protection has been lost.


Which companies are charging for European calls?

EE has announced that customers will face a £2 daily fee from January next year to be able to use their data, call minutes and text allowances in 47 European destinations. The charge is capped at £10 per month, but it still adds up if all the family take their phones. There is also the possibility that these costs may rise.

This fee applies to new contracts and anyone who upgrades after 7th July 2021. As many people tend to upgrade every two years when their contract expires, it won’t be too long before this fee applies to the majority of EE users. Although the other major networks have held back from roaming or daily charges, there is still a need for caution.

Vodafone, Three and O2
have imposed “fair use limits” for those using their phones abroad. Above these limits, there will be additional charges as shown below:

O2                     Monthly data limit 25GB             £3.50 for each additional GB

Vodafone          Monthly data limit 25GB             £3.13 for each additional GB

Three                Monthly data limit 12GB             £3.00 for each additional GB

With Three setting its limit at only 12GB/month, streaming Netflix and downloading music could be costly. The BBC ‘Reality Check’ cautions against further charges: “UK customers have been told that their operators will charge extra if they spend more than half their time overseas, generally measured by being in another country for more than 62 days in a four-month period.

If you own a business and plan to travel, this is the perfect time to check your business mobile plan.


How bad can it get?

The BBC does note that as part of the UK-EU Brexit agreement, both sides would encourage operators to have “transparent and reasonable rates” for roaming.

The UK government has included some protections for consumers:

  •   A £45-a-month limit for using mobile data abroad before having to opt into further use;
  •   Customers to be notified when they have reached 80% and 100% of their data allowance;
  •   Operators to take “reasonable steps” to avoid customers being charged if a phone in Northern Ireland locks onto a mobile signal coming from the Republic of Ireland;

Whether such protections will remain if the UK-EU relationship sours remains to be seen. But how to avoid roaming charges when EU Roaming Charges return in 2022?


How to get the best deal if you are regular traveller?

Whatever your thoughts are on Brexit, it is hard to disagree with the fact that using a mobile in EU countries was simpler before the UK left.  Now there are many factors to consider when getting the best deal if you are a frequent EU traveller.

And this is where our Client Relationship Managers can help. Rubix VT has access to all the business networks and, using our experience of over 20 years, we can advise you on the best mobile plan for your needs!

We offer affordable, adaptable business mobile phone plans, tailor made to suit all sizes and types of organisation. You may need a SIM-only package, or if it’s time for an upgrade, we’d be happy to help you source new handsets for the team. We are also going to look after you and keep an eye on usage to make sure you stay on the best pricing package.