Why are roaming charges being reintroduced? Three follows EE and Vodafone in bringing back EU costs

By Jack Gevertz

Mobile network operator Three has announced it’s reintroducing roaming charges for new and upgrading customers.

It means people who are thinking of going with the company or getting a new deal following the end of their current contract will have to pay for using their data, minutes and text allowances when travelling in the EU and further afield.

This will deal a blow to those who regularly travel abroad or who need to use their allowances when on holiday overseas.

But it’s not just Three who are reintroducing these charges. Vodafone and EE have already announced similar plans for people travelling in the EU.

So, you’re probably wondering, why are Three reintroducing roaming charges, how much will I have to pay to roam abroad and what are other network companies doing. Here’s what we know.

Why are Three, EE and Vodafone reintroducing roaming charges for customers?

Three announced the change to its roaming charges in a statement posted on its website .

The network operator blamed too many ‘unknowns’ for the change, as it prepares to end its Go Roam package, which gave consumers the chance to use their allowances in more than 70 other countries.

It said: “There are now too many unknowns, which has made it commercially unviable for us to continue [the existing roaming arrangements].

“This includes variations to the underlying cost of roaming, meaning we now have no visibility over the maximum amount it will cost us to provide a service for our customers to use their phone while abroad.”

Rules for EU member states forbade companies from charging customers for using their data, minutes and text allowance while in another EU country.

But the post-Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the EU did not include roaming charges in the settlement. It means companies are now free to charge again for this usage.

There is some good news, though. According to the BBC , UK law does not currently allow roaming charges to go higher than £45 per month, allowing those who regularly go overseas to breathe a sigh of relief that their bills will not get out of hand.

Customers must also be informed when they have reached 80 percent and 100 percent of their data usage, so as not to incur any big unknown charges.

How much will I have to pay to roam abroad?

If you’re with Three and take out a new contract or upgrade from October 1, then you will have to pay roaming charges when travelling overseas from May 23, 2022.

The cost of which will be £2 per day when in the EU and £5 per day when roaming in another non-UK destination. The Republic of Ireland is not included in this change.

If you’re with EE they too have decided to bring back roaming charges. For those who took out a new contract or have upgraded after July 7, 2021, they will be subject to charges when abroad.

Like Three, EE will be charging £2 per day when travelling within the EU.

Vodafone, meanwhile, will also be expecting customers to pay for roaming while in the EU. Again, this will be charged at £2 per day unless you’re on a particular plan.

O2, though, has said it doesn’t plan to bring in roaming charges for its customers who travel to the EU, while Sky Mobile told the BBC it wasn’t going to charge for roaming in the EU either.

What happens if I go abroad regularly?

For customers who go abroad regularly, you may be able to purchase a specific add-on or package which will take account of your long period of travel.

EE is offering a Roam Abroad add-on and that can be added to a phone plan for £10 per month, which will offer using your phone in the EU at the same price as at home.

For Vodafone customers, Xtra plans may include roaming as well, so it’s worth checking what tariff you are on.

Other Vodafone customers, though, will be offered special passes at eight days and fifteen days aimed at those who are going for those periods of time. This will work out at £1 per day.

If you’re on EE, Vodafone or Three, check with your provider about what they can offer if you’re planning an extended period of travel.

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.


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