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O2, Vodafone and Three UK Respond to EU Roaming Concerns

Thursday, June 24th, 2021 (3:11 pm) - Score 19,320
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The controversial decision today by UK mobile operator EE to reintroduce EU roaming charges for new and upgrading customers (here) has resulted in some concern that other operators would follow suit. In response, we asked O2, Vodafone and Three UK to clarify whether they’re planning to do something similar.

First up we have Three UK, which at the end of last year said they planned to “retain” roaming at no extra cost “regardless of Brexit negotiations.” The good news is that Three UK told ISPreview.co.uk they “will not be implementing a roaming fee,” but sadly they do intend to reduce the flexibility on their fair usage cap.

A Three UK spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk: “Following a review of our fair use policy, we are making some changes to our Go Roam policy in the EU to bring it in line with our Go Roam Around the World fair use policy. This means from July 1 our fair use limit for data while in the EU will reduce from 20GB per month to 12GB.”

Three claims their “new fair use limit is still more than enough for holidaymakers to use their phone like they would if they were in the UK,” although there’s no doubt that going from 20GB to 12GB will restrict mobile broadband usage for some customers. “There is no change to our surcharge, so data usage over 12GB (up to the customer’s allowance), will remain subject to a small fee of 0.3p per MB,” added the operator.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Vodafone UK said, “We have no current plans to change our approach to roaming in the EU.” Likewise, a spokesperson for O2, said, “I can confirm we have no plans to reintroduce roaming charges.” However, O2 did yesterday unveil a stricter fair usage cap on EU data roaming, but that largely just brought them more into line with other operators (here).

On the surface this sounds positive, although we tend to take phrases like “no plans” with a pinch of highly ambiguous salt, as plans can and often do change, particularly in the telecoms industry. If we had a pound for every time a broadband ISP or mobile operator had said they had “no plans” for something, only to change course a few months later.. etc.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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31 Responses
  1. adslmax says:

    Course they will follow it, just pure greed!

    1. L says:

      I’m sure it’s not as easy as it sounds. I’m sure they all have some extra costs after the brexit

  2. Gregowski says:

    There we go people! EE, Best Network! …

    1. David sobis says:

      good joke wouldn’t touch ee with a bargepoll crap network

    2. Phillip Jones says:

      The rot set in when they became EE and stopped being Orange…customer service, signals, charges generally became really bad. Such a shame as Orange used to be such a good provider.

  3. DaveT says:

    Take these statements from Three, O2 and VF with a huge pinch of salt. It wasn’t that long ago that EE said they had no plans to introduce EU roaming charges…

  4. remainer says:

    I’m sure Brexit was worth it though right?

    1. Buggerlugz says:

      It would be if they actually EVER deliver on their promises…

    2. Bob says:

      @Buggerlugz and you thought they would? Awww bless. To have the naivety of a five year old…

    3. Gareth says:

      Yes, and I don’t use roaming so it doesn’t effect me!

      I’m still waiting for the immediate recession where 500,000 will lose their jobs, factories will flock the country, medicines won’t be delivered, house prices will collapse (LOL)….

    4. Yurter says:

      Zombie

  5. anonymous says:

    EE management must have been wetting themselves with excitement at doing this, the next day after letting Virgin Media (under O2 name) change their roaming caps (initially just that anyway).

    Champagne for everyone was heard at EE’s board table today…..

    1. Buggerlugz says:

      Well it’ll pay for a nice day trip to London take in a few “business lunches” for the board no doubt.

  6. Paul Ian says:

    lol Remember RPI increase now new word CPI INcrease 4.5 percent every network followed this next year is GPI 6.6 Percent they get away with everything……

  7. Tom Hil says:

    They said “no roaming charges if we left the eu”.
    They were telling fibs.
    There are no sunny uplands to brexit.
    Brexit is a disease that keeps giving.

    1. FREEDOM from the EU is amazing says:

      I’d rather have it this way, than be prisoners to the rancid EU.

      It’s the undemocratic EU that lies. Good riddance to the EU. We don’t need their tantrums.

      Choose somewhere NICER to take your holidays. Countries who don’t despise the British.

      Go buy a local sim card abroad or MI-FI modem and whole family tether to that.

  8. Gary says:

    Well, I’m not going to judge as I don’t yet know the reasons why. If EU operators are now charging for roaming users from the uk then sadly it’s completely obvious UK operators would pass that to the actual user.

    1. Dave says:

      All the operators have always charged each other, the networks just weren’t allowed to pass this on to customers.

      Of course everyone has paid in monthly bills, those who don’t roam so much or at all have simply subsidised those that do.

    2. sebbb says:

      As far as I know (I’m italian but live here), italian operators are still considering the UK as part of the free EU roaming zone, all of them. There are caps as with the other 3 MNOs here, mainly because domestic data in Italy is extremely cheap (we talk 10€ a month for 50-100GB on payg, pay monthly are a rarity in Italy).

  9. Chris Sayers says:

    I’m not sure who has taken this biggest financial hit, EU operators, or UK operators, I wonder who will gain the most.

    1. Santi says:

      It’s obvious: EU operators are to make more money. The number of British in Europe is quite high, so Vodafone Spain/Orange Spain/Movistar will obviously increase their wholesale interconnection charges and increase their roaming revenue

    2. steve says:

      they still making £££££3billions£££££

  10. Aled says:

    Bunch of cnuts. I’ll simply switch my 4g off internationally now. Who gives a crap when it’s rarely 2 hours between WiFi connections?

  11. André says:

    Ah, yes
    The gift that keeps on giving…. I’m sure somehow this will all be the EU’s fault, of course…

  12. Jim Jam says:

    EE is in a sticky situation, they have no Europe wide network to draw on unlike O2/Three/VF. Its likely they are at a disadvantage as a result, where as the remaining networks can easily agree cross OpCo wholesale rates at cost neutral terms, especially in areas popular with UK holiday makers.

  13. Mike80 says:

    Earlier this month the Government announced caps on roaming charges with Norway, Iceland as part of a new trade deal https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-secures-new-deal-with-norway-iceland-and-liechtenstein – although I can’t find anywhere what these caps are.

    Given EE is adding the roaming charge in these countries as well*, I do wonder how low or high these caps actually are!?

    *Albeit included in some premium tariffs.

  14. james pollard says:

    No big issue for those wise enough not to use contracts. As a VOXI customer with a phone I purchased with cash it doesn’t matter what happens, simply purchase a PAYG SIM job done.

  15. Markydon says:

    Are THREE going to change I’ve had notification from O2 stating I can leave my contract with zero fee to pay??

  16. steve says:

    love the explanations….02 no plans for roaming charges, but stricter fair useage policy, cut the roaming data in half yet still charge the same

  17. F U Vodafone says:

    Vodafone have plans to introduce roaming. All other internal projects falling by the wayside so they can scramble to milk their customers in time for holiday season. So much for ‘earn customer loyalty’. Staff are disgusted but the bosses only have eyes their next bonus. All staff on a flat bonus structure except the senior decision makers who are rewarded with large bonus shares. Wonder what the investment firms with think of a money grabbing scheme…? Oh that’s right they’ll love it, share price goes up, the greedy rich get richer.

  18. F U Vodafone says:

    Vodafone have plans to introduce roaming. All other internal projects falling by the wayside so they can scramble to milk their customers in time for holiday season. So much for ‘earn customer loyalty’. Staff are disgusted but the bosses only have eyes for their next bonus. All staff on a flat bonus structure except the top level decision makers who are rewarded with large bonus shares. Wonder what the investment firms will think of a money grabbing scheme…? Oh that’s right they’ll love it, share price goes up, the greedy rich get richer.

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