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Giffgaff UK Slash Mobile Data Allowance on Free EU Roaming

Tuesday, June 21st, 2022 (12:35 pm) - Score 6,000
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Mobile operator giffgaff has today followed Tesco Mobile’s recent, if controversial, decision (here) to end free EU roaming for UK customers by announcing a huge 75% reduction in inclusive data roaming (mobile broadband) from 20 GigaBytes (GB) to just 5GB, as well as rates of 10p per MegaByte (MB) beyond that.

The operator indicated that this change reflected the fact that they incur interconnect costs when customers roam in the EU and all UK mobile networks have had to absorb this cost (we suspect that’s much harder for budget providers). On the upside, giffgaff are at least still leaving customers with some degree of inclusive EU roaming, even if you’ll now need to pay much closer attention to their data usage.

The change is due to be introduced from 26th July 2022.

The Announcement

We wanted to give you all an important update on some changes that’ll be going live in the next month and let you know all the details.

We will be making some changes to our EU roaming allowance to ensure we can continue to offer great value at home and still provide you with data while you’re abroad. From 26th July, giffgaff members will be able to use up to 5GB of their goodybag allowance in the EU and selected destinations at no extra cost. Beyond this, there’ll be a charge of 10p/mb while roaming.

We know that having data while in the EU is important to you all, however, as some of you might know, we incur interconnect costs when people roam in the EU. Under the EU legislation, all UK mobile networks had to absorb this cost. Considering the difficulties that arise from the cost of living crisis, we wanted to do as much as we can to help so we have taken the decision to mitigate some of that cost, so that we can at least give our members up to 5GB to roam in the EU, at no extra cost.

Providing 5GB of data while you’re abroad enables the vast majority of our members to still roam in the EU within their current goodybag allowance and if they happen to need more the price per MB would be exactly the same as they would be charged if they were in UK.

Making this change has enabled us to put in place our Fixed UK Prices, we believe that prioritising freezing UK tariffs and giving you peace of mind for your bills at home is the right thing for us to do.

If you’re heading to the EU soon, we hope that 5GB, plus unlimited calls and texts will still allow you to enjoy your trip abroad. Back in 2019, over 90% of our members used less than 5GB when roaming in the EU each month.

Much like Tesco, giffgaff are also an O2 (VMO2) based Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). As most people may recall, O2 are currently the only primary operator to buck the trend and make a solid commitment to retain free EU roaming. Sky Mobile, which is another O2 based MVNO provider, also started charging for EU roaming at the start of May.

Suffice to say, customers of VMO2’s mobile services may now be becoming deeply suspicious of the primary operator’s own commitment to retain inclusive EU roaming, at no extra cost.

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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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42 Responses
  1. Dagrimone says:

    Anyone who believes or believed the networks who said the would not charge for roaming again we’re very naive

    1. An Engineer says:

      Of course. They’ve a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to act in the best interests of the company.

      EEA regulations took this decision out of their hands but, obviously, once that was no longer an issue they’d start charging for roaming again. Why wouldn’t they?

  2. Phil says:

    That’s brexit reason for this

    1. Mike says:

      Why should the average joe have to pay higher domestic fees to subsidise middle class gammons on holiday?

    2. An Engineer says:

      Clearly domestic charges are tumbling now that no subsidy is required, Mike.

      Phil: you got what you voted for.

    3. 125us says:

      Only really valid if the U.K. charges drop to reflect the loss of subsidy. Seen much of that Mike?

    4. British Billy Cat says:

      Mike’s mobile operator charges him £5 less each month now that we’re out of the EU. Isn’t that right Mikey?

    5. Mike says:

      It’s called shrinkflation, reducing a product to avoid raising the price, price reductions might have been possible pre-covid £ binge or if the UK public didn’t vote to have a debt based monetary system.

    6. Move On says:

      Knew some idiot would want to bring Brexit into it, some people are still so bitter about losing the vote.

      I wished that those that crave being part of the EU would care and stick up for their own country as much.

    7. Tree says:

      @Move On, it’s not idiotic if it’s directly related to Brexit. There is an EU regulation that prevents operators charging roaming fees within the EU so it’s entirely relevant. This was always coming.

    8. An Engineer says:

      I wish that people who frame the 2016 referendum in terms of ‘we won, you lost’ would start thinking in the national interest rather than getting butthurt at the slightest hint that it isn’t going swimmingly and Britannia isn’t gloriously unchained but is actually seeing serious issues due to nature of our exit but we can’t have everything, can we ‘Move On’?

      If we were to actually move on you’d be far less threatened by the idea that the country would be in a better place if we were more closely aligned with the EU or even in the EEA but it is what it is.

      It would be wonderful if those claiming to speak for our national interest actually tried thinking of it from time to time, dropping the ego and admitting that maybe, just maybe, the manner of our exit, not the exit itself just how it was done, was an error.

      That so many are incapable of even that speaks volumes. At some point we lost all concept of subtlety, compromise and contrition and ended up with politics for hubristic simpletons by hubristic simpletons.

    9. Move On says:

      @An Engineer

      This is currently typical of those in the minority (you) that still want their way even though the majority have spoken. We can also see this in the current Tory party where they had a vote on Boris and the majority of MP’s voted to keep him but the minority are still trying to come up with ways to get rid of him although they are in the minority. People voted in the 2016 referendum to leave the EU, people like you have to be grown up enough to accept that decision rather than acting like children and spitting out their dummies because it wasn’t what they wanted.

    10. FibreBubble says:

      I doubt people will ‘move on’ until they see the end of higher prices, reduced services, less choice and shortages. So probably not for a while.

    11. Whatever says:

      @Move On

      Supporters of Brexit have been in the minority nearly every month for the last 24:

      https://www.statista.com/statistics/987347/brexit-opinion-poll/

      And this is just one of the polls on the topic. They pretty much all say this, unless they were conducted by Brexiteers themselves.

    12. Mike says:

      @FibreBubble

      It will get worse due to bad government policies, not just in the UK either, no doubt Brexit will be blamed any ways by the usual suspects.

      @Whatever

      After 2016 (Brexit/Trump) I don’t think polls can be trusted any more.

    13. An Engineer says:

      You just proved my point Move On by painting me as a rejoiner for suggesting the UK would benefit from closer alignment with the EU. I didn’t at any point even imply I’m in favour of reversing 2016 and am not: that ship sailed a while ago.

      Self-quoting: ‘At some point we lost all concept of subtlety, compromise and contrition and ended up with politics for hubristic simpletons by hubristic simpletons.’

      I’m afraid reality doesn’t follow your binary view of things and however long we try and hold it back it’ll eventually break through.

      Mike: I’m sure alongside those blaming Brexit for issues there’ll be those like yourself claiming it’s nothing to do with them.

      The reality is, of course, in the middle somewhere.

    14. Mike says:

      @An Engineer

      I think the only legitimate reason besides being bitter about the result is that they assume the current governing party is pro-Brexit and doing their utmost to make it work and therefore Brexit itself must be at fault.

      I personally think the Conservatives never wanted it to happen as they took the UK into the EU in the first place and have done the bare minimum at best to implement it.

    15. Ad47uk says:

      @Move On, the majority did not speak, and I am one of those who voted out, if the majority spoke, the result may have been different. A lot of people did not vote because they thought we would not vote to leave, but it backfired on them,

      I still say we made the right choice, but our government have mucked it up, then we had the Co-vid thing and now the War in Ukraine, sorry, invasion of Ukraine.

  3. David says:

    @Mike – there are actually tariffs that are cheaper that don’t include EU roaming but you may have to ask specifically for them. Vodafone for example do a “Basics” set of tariffs. See https://www.vodafone.co.uk/shop/bundles-and-sims/sim-only-deals/basics/b/

    1. ZX says:

      Still pretty poor deals in the wider scheme of things, although Vodafone has never been known for being competitive. I’m currently still on a Three contract I got in 2020. £10 a month for 100GB of data and roaming still included.

  4. Yong lol says:

    I think the real bad things is that Tesco run a ton of Ads saying they would never get rid of EU roaming when we know full well they knew exactly what they where planning

    1. Mike says:

      The type of people that shop at Tesco’s are exactly the types who would fall for them, hence the ads.

    2. Willy Wonka says:

      lol what does that mean? all walks of life shop at tesco. Just like how i’ve seen judges and barristers in Lidl.

    3. An Engineer says:

      Much of the UK is not only used to being lied to but welcomes it so why wouldn’t they do that?

    4. Ad47uk says:

      @Mike, while I don’t normally shop at Tescos, you can’t judge people by where they shop. Lots of people shop at Asda and you know what is said about them, and yet I know people who are pretty well off who shop at Asda. I have only been to our Asda 3 times in the 15 years or so it has been opened. It is further from me than other stores, I don’t like the store itself, dark and noisy due to the building, and I am not impressed by the quality of their products.

      My main shopping is normally in Morrison’s even if I do work in a competitor store.

  5. Move On says:

    @Willy Wonka

    How could you tell did they still have their wigs and silks on?

    1. Willy Wonka says:

      There’s one opposite a courtroom. And because I know them and i’ve seen em in there. They don’t wear the pantomime clothes outside.

  6. NE555 says:

    Lebara (MVNO on Vodafone) still doesn’t have EU roaming charges. So if it matters to you, vote with your feet and your wallet.

  7. Ryan says:

    Wonder how long until O2 it self back roaming charges,this week Tesco Mobile which is 50% owned by O2 reintroduced roaming charges, now Giffgaff which is a wholly owned subsidiary of O2 reducing roaming data allowance.

    £50 says O2 it self change it roaming by end of month.

  8. FoolishEURoamer says:

    With Globilisation and businesses with global reach youre telling me that these same companies dont have reciprocal Interconnect agreements already inplace? You’re also saying with the advent of CDNs and cloud ops becoming previlant ISPs are not already finding eays and means to service customers data needs without incuring additional costs beyond what they already bill us for? I call BS on that one. These providers are using Roaming data charges as a stealth tax. Ok, i admit that there’s a slight additional cost involved in operating global services but dont tell me that these providers are not scalping this cost and turning a profit off of it.

    1. Willy Wonka says:

      Pretty simple, yes they have those roaming agreements and network agreements. Just as they do for countries outside the EU (I know it’s hard to believe, but they exist). The only difference is the EU forced the networks to give it to you “for free” within the EU. Except that then all the contracts went up in price to cover for it. To be honest, I don’t really see what all the fuss is about. Most of the networks won’t do 5G and until recently some of them didn’t even do 4G when roaming in the EU. And the speeds were always terrible. Now that you have to pay (£2 a day on three) I’ll just put that £2 a day towards a local sim and enjoy better service than if I were roaming anyway.

      We might see them bring it back anyway. Don’ know, ain’t too bothered either.

    2. Mike says:

      I suspect they kept roaming in place until now as they had outstanding agreements which when re-contracting they were unable to get favourable terms again due to the lack of government mandate which leads to the current changes.

    3. ZX says:

      Indeed. Bearing in mind that the main operators are all part of larger groups that operate in several countries, it’s just profiteering.

  9. ZX says:

    @willywonka – I dunno what network you were on, but I always got excellent speeds when roaming from both Three and Vodafone. Often actually faster than what I got at home!

    1. Ryan says:

      just like zx last time I was roaming the speed on me on EE and my partner on Vodafone speed were decent the only thing is the latency is higher since the traffic get routed back to the UK but not normal issues unless you’re online gaming.

  10. 123 says:

    Well, it was an EU law that stopped roaming charges within the EU, so this was easy to predict.

    Anyway, at least we have £350 million a week for the NHS… right?

  11. Gareth says:

    I’ve been coming on here since the site was born and always loved it and the people who are generally more tech savvy.

    Unfortunately, it seems it’s become a place for bitter people to rant about “Politics”.

    Why the hell you all just can’t move on to some other braindead site….like Facebook….or just….you know….Grow up!

    1. Jason says:

      Because politics directly impacts on tech in this case? Maybe stop being triggered by the fact that populist political decisions do indeed backfire?

    2. Gareth says:

      You were clearly triggered by my comment. Like I said, go and play on one of the troll sites like Facebook or Twitter, it’s probably more to your taste.

  12. Ad47uk says:

    It is just a money making scam, since the large network own networks in all countries, it doesn’t cost them any more to allow someone who is holidaying in say France from the U.K to use it.
    So since we are out of the E.U, and they have up the roaming fees, do that hold true for someone coming from the E.U to the U.K?

    Maybe for virtual networks I can understand it to a small degree.

    Sorry, but staying in the E.u just for roaming would not be a good idea, there are a few good reasons to stay in the E.U, but a lot of reasons to get out.,

    1. ZX says:

      As time passes, we’re finding out just how much damage leaving the EU has caused. Our economy is 5% smaller than it would have been and our inflation is higher than other similar countries. Global banks now have serious concerns about the stability of sterling as it has severely weakened against the dollar and euro. It will only get worse.

    2. Mike says:

      @ZX

      That’s due to bad government not Brexit.

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