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EU roaming charges begin for Brits as first carrier breaks its Brexit promise

Act surprised: Some Brits will face EU roaming charges for the first time since 2017, as EE is the first carrier to break its promise that nothing would change after Brexit…


Using your smartphone in other countries is known as “roaming,” where carriers from different countries reach agreement to allow their customers to use each other’s networks. However, much higher charges may apply for calls, texts, and data usage.

That ended for European Union citizens in 2017, when an agreement was reached to abandon roaming charges. Anyone with a phone contract in any EU country can use their phone in any other EU country at local rates.

When the UK left the EU, all four major carriers promised that they would not reapply roaming charges for Brits traveling to EU countries. This included EE. Many of us expressed skepticism at the time, and it now seems we were right to do so.

EU roaming charges apply to new EE customers

EE is the first UK carrier to break this promise, reports BBC News.

Mobile operator EE will charge new customers extra to use their mobile phones in Europe from January.

Those joining or upgrading from 7 July 2021 will be charged £2 a day to use their allowances in 47 European destinations from January 2022. EE previously said it had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges in Europe.

It is the first UK operator to reintroduce the charges since the Brexit trade deal was signed at the end of December.

EE said on Thursday that introducing the charges would “support investment into our UK based customer service and leading UK network”.

This contrasts with the statement EE made in January:

Our customers enjoy inclusive roaming in Europe and beyond, and we don’t have any plans to change this based on the Brexit outcome. So our customers going on holiday and traveling in the EU will continue to enjoy inclusive roaming.

An erroneous report yesterday suggested that O2 would also reintroduce roaming charges in the EU, but the company said that this isn’t the case. It is, however, introducing a “fair use” cap of 25GB when in an EU country, a level that would not impact any but the very heaviest users.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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