EE to reintroduce roaming charges
Mobile customers signing up with EE from 7 July 2021 onwards will be charged £2 a day to use their allowances in the EU from January 2022.
EE, which is part of BT, previously said it had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges in Europe.
British holidaymakers have benefited from free roaming costs in the EU since “Roam like at home” rules were introduced in 2017. The EU rule meant that UK mobile customers could use their mobile call, text and data allowance in Europe without incurring extra costs. But Brexit means the rule no longer stands.
All the major networks have previously said they had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges. However, O2 emailed customers this week to say those with a data limit of 25GB or more a month would be charged £3.50 for every gigabyte of data used above 25GB.
EE’s move is more significant as it will affect all customers travelling to Europe, not just those with a large data limit.
However, only those EE customers who sign new contracts from 7 July are affected for now. If you’re an existing customer and simply let your contract roll on once it’s expired, you won’t be charged extra while overseas.
EE customers with an Essential plan can also take out a 30-day ‘Roam Abroad Pass’ for £10. This will work out cheaper than the new £2 a day fee if you’re going to Europe for more than five days.
EE said reintroducing the charges would “support investment into our UK based customer service and leading UK network”.
Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, said: “In the aftermath of Brexit, the UK’s biggest mobile providers all said that they had no immediate plans to change their charging models for consumers roaming within the EU.
“It’s hugely disappointing for consumers to see that situation change so quickly. This move means that customers joining or upgrading with EE from July will have to pay £2 a day to use their data and minutes across Europe from 2022.
“EE says the move will support investment in its UK-based services, but this is ultimately a backwards step for consumers. Unfortunately, when one provider makes such a bold decision it can mean that others follow, so we’ll be watching to see what O2, Vodafone and Three do next.
“If you’re an existing EE customer, these charges won’t affect you yet, but make sure you check the small print if you’re due an upgrade in the coming months. When it comes to travelling, don’t leave it till the last minute to check the roaming charges for your destination, and always use hotel and cafe Wi-Fi when on holiday where possible.”