Vodafone reintroduces roaming charges for travel in Europe following Brexit

New and upgrading customers will be forced to pay up to £2 per day when travelling

Conrad Duncan
Monday 09 August 2021 19:40
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Related video: EE announced in June that it would be bringing back roaming charges in Europe

Vodafone has joined EE in becoming the latest mobile network to reintroduce roaming charges for Britons who travel in Europe following Brexit.

The decision means new and upgrading customers from 11 August will have to pay up to £2 per day to use their monthly allowance of data, calls and texts, although the charges will not apply until January next year.

Roaming fees for travellers in Europe ended in June 2017, allowing customers to continue using their mobile plan in other EU nations at no additional cost, with a fair use limit.

Although the Brexit trade agreement said that the UK and EU should “co-operate on promoting transparent and reasonable rates” for mobile charges, no guarantee on free roaming was negotiated.

The change comes after EE, which is owned by BT, announced that it would be reintroducing roaming charges in June.

In a statement addressing the move on Monday, Vodafone said that those who stay on their current mobile plan will not be affected until they change their tariff.

Holidaymakers using the network will also be able to reduce the roaming cost to £1 per day by purchasing a multi-day pass for eight or 15 days.

Those on the firm's more expensive Xtra plans will still have roaming included, while the Republic of Ireland will be exempt for all customers.

“Rather than have all of our customers affected by including the additional costs of roaming into all of our tariffs, customers will be able to choose a plan that comes with roaming included, or purchase an additional roaming pass,” a Vodafone spokesperson said.

“Our ambition is to ensure customers don't ever experience 'bill shock' when roaming with Vodafone, because all of our plans and passes will have clear usage caps, and customers will also be able to set their own limits via Vodafone Spend Manager, which is free to set up via the My Vodafone App.”

The network added that fewer than half of its customers roamed beyond the Republic of Ireland in 2019.

Although the UK’s four major networks – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – did not initially announce changes to their roaming charges following Brexit, consumers should expect that all four will soon follow suit, according to Paolo Pescatore, an analyst from PP Foresight.

“Phone users will now need to be savvier when travelling aboard,” Mr Pescatore said.

“Some will have roaming included on higher priced plans and premium devices, while others will be forced to look at switching to wifi and take out local e-sim options.”

Under current rules, O2 offers a roaming limit of 25GB, with a charge of £3.50 per gigabyte for any extra data used, while Three has cut its fair-use data limit from 20GB a month to 12GB in Europe, with a £3 charge per gigabyte over that limit.

Additional reporting by PA

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