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Ofcom UK Warn Lycamobile Over Surcharge for EU Mobile Roaming

Wednesday, Jun 27th, 2018 (10:59 am) - Score 1,677

A probe conducted by the UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has found “reasonable grounds for believing” that Lycamobile may have breached industry regulations for EU mobile roaming, not least by levying a surcharge and applying overly strict 4G / 3G data roaming limits (mobile broadband).

At present all Mobile Network Operators (MNO) in the United Kingdom are subject, since June 2017, to the new EU roaming regulation (“Roam Like At Home“). In simple terms this means that anybody choosing to use their Mobile (SIM) to make calls, text or use data while roaming around the EU should be able to do so for the same price as they pay their UK operator (i.e. no extra roaming charges), although there are some caveats for data usage.

Despite this an investigation by Ofcom, which began last October, has concluded that Lycamobile may have failed to correctly implement these rules since they were introduced and as such they’ve now issued a notification of their provisional determination.

Ofcom’s Statement

[We have] reasonable grounds to believe that Lycamobile has contravened, and is continuing to contravene:

* Article 6a of the Roaming Regulation by levying a surcharge and/or general charge in addition to the domestic retail price for regulated roaming services to enable the service to be used abroad;

– Between 15 June 2017 and 27 August 2017, customers that purchased a pre-paid bundle were only able to roam within the EEA using pay as you go (PAYG) credit, rather than being able to use their bundle allowance on a ‘roam like at home’ (RLAH) basis; and

– From 28 August 2017 to present, customers that purchased a non-roaming inclusive pre-paid bundle were only able to roam within the EEA using PAYG credit or by additionally purchasing a roaming inclusive pre-paid bundle.

* Article 6b of the Roaming Regulation and Article 4(2) of the CIR by applying, as part of a fair use policy, data roaming limits that are lower than the minimum levels permitted by the regulations; and

* Articles 6b and 6e of the Roaming Regulation by applying surcharges for regulated data roaming services that are higher than the maximum surcharge permitted by the regulations. Specifically, Lycamobile’s charging policy for customers that roamed after reaching their data roaming limit and before reaching their domestic data allowance, exceeded the limits set in Article 6e(1)(a).

Lycamobile has now been given an opportunity to put their side of the story and if Ofcom isn’t satisfied, which is often the case once an investigation reaches this stage, then the operator could be forced to either make further changes and / or they may even be hit with a significant financial penalty. The regulator aims to reach a final decision during autumn 2018.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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2 Responses
  1. Avatar photo David says:

    No surprises here except how long it has taken OfCom to “act”.

    I informed OfCom that Lyca wasn’t following the regulations soon after the RAH regulations were introduced. I even received a reply back acknowledging that it looks like they are in breach of regulations and they will consider taking action. I can’t understand how it has taken as long as a year to get to this point.

    It’s probably also worth noting that Lyca has taken the same approach in most or all of the EU markets they operate in.

    Unless OfCom want other operators to start bending the rules, they need to come down hard with a crippling fine.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Chances are they requested information from Lyca, as well as anybody else who complained, and then feet dragging by those parties will have slowed everything down. I believe they originally aimed to report in April.

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