June 2017 officially saw the end of roaming charges for mobile networks across the EU, thanks to the ‘Roam like Home’ legislation. This could soon change in the UK as Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed the collection of countries will no longer be a part of the Digital Single Market.
“On digital, the UK will not be part of the EU's Digital Single Market, which will continue to develop after our withdrawal from the EU,” May explained last week. “This is a fast evolving, innovative sector, in which the UK is a world leader. So it will be particularly important to have domestic flexibility, to ensure the regulatory environment can always respond nimbly and ambitiously to new developments.”
Although there has yet to be official confirmation of the return of roaming fees when travelling abroad from the UK, a leaked document from the European Parliament states that the lack of roaming charges is exclusive to those in the European Union, and would “no longer apply with respect to the UK” post-Brexit.
Luckily, UK operators Three and Vodafone will not re-impose roaming charges, with Three CEO David Dyson stating that the company is “passionate about improving our customers' experience when travelling abroad, so they can stay connected and use their phones just as they do at home. To reassure our customers, we have also committed to maintaining the availability of roaming in the EU at no additional cost following Brexit.”
Other networks such as O2 and EE would be hard pressed to not re-impose charges, however, as the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee told Sky News that the operators would see a considerable increase in expenditures when pushed out of the European regulatory framework.
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Only time will tell how networks choose to proceed, but if some networks don’t incur the extra costs, they will also be forfeiting a distinct portion of the market. Did you make use of your time without roaming charges across the EU or does this change not concern you all that much?