Mobile operators Virgin Media and O2 confirm free roaming for their customers in EU countries
According to the BBC, mobile operators Virgin Media and O2 will not charge their customers roaming charges while travelling abroad in EU countries. Calls, texts, and data usage will instead all be covered under their customers’ existing UK deals.
Gareth Turpin, chief commercial officer for parent company Virgin Media O2, told the BBC, “We’re starting the year by giving our customers some certainty: we will not be reintroducing roaming fees in Europe for customers on O2 or Virgin Mobile”.
“With many Brits now looking to plan a trip abroad, we’ve got our customers covered, and extra roaming charges will be one less thing to worry about”, he explained, adding that free roaming will also apply to those using SIM-only and pay-as-you-go tariffs.
In 2017, roaming charges had been abolished in the EU, but last May, the EU-UK Trade Agreement came into force. This removed the requirement for surcharge-free roaming. A cap of £45 per monthly billing period was later legislated by the British government, “to protect consumers from unexpected charges”.
With the removal of the free roaming deal, customers travelling in Europe, and using their UK mobiles, could expect to pay an additional £2 per day when making calls, texts and using their UK mobile broadband service.
Vodafone and EE had announced that they would reintroduce roaming charges early this January. Since then, both companies have stalled their plans. Vodafone has delayed until March, while EE, citing ‘technical delays’ will bring it in at the end of this month. Meanwhile, Three UK says roaming will be introduced in May
Sue Davies, head of consumer protection policy for Which? commented that it was “reassuring” to hear that Virgin Media O2 were offering “some certainty” to their customers. “As the UK continues to negotiate trade deals, it should take the opportunity to lower the cost of roaming for consumers travelling around the world”, said Ms Davies.
Which? has long been advocating for a modification to the UK-EU agreement to “stop companies chipping away at the roaming benefits customers have become used to”, as reported by computing.co.uk.