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After two years of disruption, holidays are back on the agenda for many Britons and while most are looking forward to the break and some sun, it’s important to take note of the new data roaming charges in place. In 2017, roaming charges across the EU were abolished for EU citizens. However, following Britain’s official departure from the EU last year, many providers have reintroduced charges.
Between 2017 and 2020, UK citizens were able to use the minutes, texts and data included on their mobile phone tariffs when travelling in the EU, without facing any extra charges.
But now, since officially leaving in January 2020 and having no roaming regulations ruled out in any Brexit deals, a number of mobile network providers will now be charging UK customers again for using their phone plans in Europe.
The new charges came into force at the end of May, 2022, with the providers in question now charging UK customers around £2 a day on average when travelling in the EU.
The Government has legislated to protect consumers from any excessive charges, ensuring mobile operators apply a financial limit on mobile data usage while abroad.
This cap has been set at £45 per monthly billing period (or €50 under EU law). This law means you won’t be able to continue using mobile data services after reaching this limit when roaming abroad unless you actively choose to.
The legislation also obligates mobile providers to send alerts to customers when they reach 80 percent and 100 percent of data usage.
This should take some edge off of any unexpected charges, but to ensure you’re not faced with a staggering phone bill to pay off after a relaxing holiday, here’s what each network provider will be charging UK customers per day for phone usage while travelling.
EE roaming charges
You can use your minutes, texts and data allowances in the European roaming zone with EE for an additional £2 a day or for £10 a month with a Roam Abroad add-on.
The Roam Abroad pass is a 30-day rolling add-on, which will be tacked onto your monthly bill.
However, if you’re on a pay monthly plan that started before July 7, 2021, these changes won’t affect you. But for those on contracts that started after this or you’re on a SIM plan, you will be subject to these charges.
The £2 charges will be active across 47 European countries. To check whether your destination is included in the list, click here.
Vodafone roaming charges
Vodafone has also reintroduced charges for Britons using their mobile plan in European countries.
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Charges apply to everyone whose contract started on or after August 11, 2021 – but anyone on a contract that started before then is currently free from charges.
The amount you pay will depend on your destination. If you’re travelling to the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland, you won’t face any additional charges.
If you’re travelling to countries in Europe (and you started your contract after August 11, 2021), you’ll face a £2 a day charge.
However, you can save some money on this by purchasing a roaming pass that lasts either eight or 15 days. These will cost the equivalent of £1 per day.
Those on the provider’s more expensive Xtra plans will still have roaming included.
O2 roaming charges
Unlike Vodafone and EE, O2 has opted to cover its Europe Zone in its tariffs.
This means your data (subject to a roaming limit), minutes, and text allowances will work in the Europe Zone just like they do at home.
The Europe Zone data allowance is capped at 25GB, so if your current allowance is over this, you’ll only be able to use 25GB of it before accumulating extra costs.
You should receive a text when you’re closing in on the limit, and again if you reach it.
After which, you’ll be charged £3.50 a day.
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