Mobile data roaming charges may be coming back…


With just a few weeks until Brexit and no deal in sight, data roaming charges may be on their way back.

Whilst the UK remains in the EU, existing rules will remain in place. However, if we leave on a ‘no deal’ basis, it will be up to the mobile phone companies to decide whether to reinstate the data roaming charges. Since 2017, they’ve been banned from imposing additional charges for UK customers using their phones in Europe.

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the current premise will remain until 2020 at least. This is expected to be the date at which any ‘transition period’ would expire.

Only two providers have so far confirmed they will not be reinstating the additional data roaming charges, whilst several others have said there are currently ‘no plans’ to change their plans. They have not ruled it out however.

The increase would come initially from the EU mobile operators who could charge UK companies an increased rate, who naturally would seek to pass that on to UK customers.

Ofcom has said that if a change of contract terms causes a ‘material detriment’ to the customer, a month’s notice must be provided, but there is no published definition of this term so it would be very hard to prove! If material detriment does apply though, you are usually able to leave your contract without any penalty being imposed, though there may be a restricted window to do so.

If you travel into Europe regularly, as we do, we would advise you to keep a close eye on developments. It’s possible that things will move very quickly once we reach 29th March!


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