Last month EE, one of the UK’s most popular mobile networks with over 27.5 million subscribers, made headlines after it announced plans to reintroduce Europe roaming charges. Previously, EE had said it had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges in Europe and is the first UK operator to do so since the EU trade deal was signed in December 2020.

But what will this mean for customers, both present and future?

The big day

The revisited roaming charges will come into effect from January 2022.

However, this doesn’t mean all EE customers will face charges. Instead, those joining or upgrading from 7 July 2021 will be charged to use their allowances in 47 European destinations.

How will it impact me?

You’ll notice that extra bill if you join EE this month, and if you use your mobile in an EU country next year. At £2 per day, holidaymakers shouldn’t need to save up too many extra pennies to front the costs — think of it as that extra ice-cream by the pool.

Those travelling to the affected destinations for a longer period of time, will also be able to buy 30-day passes for £10 to use their home tariff abroad.

However, considering mobile networks in all EU countries have not been allowed to charge their customers extra for using their phones in other EU countries since 2017, the roaming revert certainly marks a change for the telecommunications industry. And it’s left many wondering whether any other changes await.

The fine print

So far, O2, Vodafone and Three have all vowed against reintroducing roaming charges, despite Brexit giving them ample opportunity. But as with any agreement these days, be it politics or technology, there’s always some extra terms and conditions to bear in mind.

A term being used by several other networks is fair use. There were rumours that O2 would be introducing roaming charges, but it is merely adding a “fair use” data cap of 25GB a month and will not charge customers more to use their phones in the EU.

From next month, Three will be reducing its fair use limit from 20GB a month to 12GB.

Could EE’s move mark the end of us ‘roaming free’? The UK’s trade deal with the EU says that both sides will encourage “transparent and reasonable rates” for roaming, but made no promises to ban the charges.

If you’re heading off abroad in the not-too-distant future, we recommend you check with your mobile operator to find out about any roaming charges. Or, you can contact a friendly member of the Crystaline team, who’d be happy to advise on mobile use abroad