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EE UK Hikes Monthly Roaming Fees by 150 Percent in 2023

Sunday, Nov 5th, 2023 (8:34 am) - Score 5,976
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Customers of EE (BT) are venting frustration after the mobile operator twice increased the price of their “Roam Abroad” add-on – making for a hike of 150% within the past year. The pass allows customers to use their existing allowances, at no extra charge, while in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand plus 47 European destinations.

The operator typically has a number of chargeable roaming options, which were introduced after the end of free EU roaming. For example, most people may prefer to take their £2.29 a day service to use their UK allowances (calls, texts and data / mobile broadband) across related countries, which has only increased a little (from £2).

NOTE: Roaming charges only affect those who signed new contracts after the 7th July 2021.

One of the other options for those with a greater demand (longer trip) is their monthly Roam Abroad pass, which The Guardian notes was just £10 per month until the Spring. But in March 2023 this went up to £15, and then – shockingly – to £25 a month in mid-October, which is on top of their annual 14.4% increase to contract payments that was applied in April.

A statement about all this can be found on EE’s Community Forum, although the operator doesn’t fully explain why their bean counters are so inept at accounting that they had to increase the price twice within the space of a year.

EEs Community Statement

From 18th October the Roam Abroad Pass increased to £25. This will apply to new and existing EE customers. We’re reflecting increasing costs in providing the ability to roam for our customers

Customers with Smart Plans or inclusive extra’s will continue to benefit from the pass.

Mobile operators typically have a bit more flexibility when it comes to the pricing of optional add-ons, which can often be added and removed as demands change. A spokesperson for Ofcom said: “Under our rules, telecoms companies must make sure their terms and conditions are clear and transparent. If your provider changes the terms of your contract, they must give you at least one month’s notice and the right to exit penalty-free, if the change isn’t exclusively to the customer’s benefit.”

However, such moves are not without commercial consequences for EE, since it makes rival operators and plans look significantly more attractive. For example, earlier this year O2 (VMO2) recommitted to continue their existing policy of retaining inclusive EU roaming as a standard feature on their plans (the only primary network operator to do so), which also seems to flow down to some of their MVNO providers.

A number of other operators, such as iD Mobile and SMARTY, which harness Three UK’s network, also still seem to build limited roaming into their plans and you can often add monthly roaming to the packages of other operators for significantly less than EE’s £25 monthly charge.

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Mark-Jackson
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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Comments
54 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Liam says:

    Brexit benefit = more expensive to roam internationally and Europe thank you self-centered brexitears.

    1. Avatar photo Billy Shears says:

      I knew there was a reason we should have stayed in! Now Liam has to pay more to phone when he’s on his holidays. Tragic.

    2. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      I’m as pro remain/rejoin as anyone, but it doesn’t explain why EE feels able to throw in the same addon on their higher priced plans, nor why many of their MVNOs seem to be able to continue EU roaming at no extra cost.

      Remember that it works both ways too, with EU network operators offering no cost UK roaming to their customers, including using the EE network

    3. Avatar photo Mml says:

      Here’s an idea for Brexiteers: when Russia had all sorts of sanctions and travel bans imposed, their propaganda started promoting tourism possibilities inside the country. So a true Brexiteer’s response to Liam should’ve been: don’t you dare spending your money abroad, you should be supporting the local economy and going to Shetland!

    4. Avatar photo Jim says:

      What does Brexit have to do with roaming in Mexico, Australia and The US?

    5. Avatar photo Charles Smith says:

      Trust Remoanas to hook into this issue. EE is applying the costs of roaming on to those people who roam. The alternate (EU) is for roamers to be subsidised by those folk who do not roam with their cell phones. When abroad just buy a local SIM card (physical or electronic).

    6. Avatar photo Charles logic says:

      @Charles Smith: Now tell us by how much your bill has decreased since you are not subsiding 😀

    7. Avatar photo Anon says:

      @Jim: You also need this addon or pay per day to roam in the EU. It’s not only for North America.

  2. Avatar photo Phil says:

    Lebara also offer free EU roaming as well as 100 minutes international calls even on their lowest priced plans, this is about profiteering by EE because they can, it isn’t about the cost of providing the said service. OFCOM should made it a condition of continuing licences that mobile operators provide free roaming in the same way they had to by law before we left the EU, but they didn’t, because the more the mobile operators can make in profit the more they can bid for licences.

  3. Avatar photo Mark says:

    Seems strange that EE need to charge so much where MVNOs etc don’t. Vodafone charge £6 ish a day I believe yet Lebara and Talk mobile don’t charge at all (both on Vodafone). Sky mobile charge £2 but this includes USA etc too.

    1. Avatar photo Mml says:

      I would imagine Lebara don’t use any of the Vodafone network services for roaming and use an IP-based solution, so they aren’t bound by Vodafone pricing.

  4. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    People will blame Brexit, but this is nothing to do with Brexit, just Corporate Greed. since these networks own networks in other countries, there is no need whatsoever for roaming fees. What do people expect from EE, after all it belongs to BT. I don’t call it Bloated Toad for nothing.

    1. Avatar photo Nathan says:

      Can’t argue with europes roaming rules that companies here in the UK have no reason to follow now.
      Directly affected the Roaming issue, as now providers can do what they like with roaming.
      Greed is an issue that needs to be tamed.

    2. Avatar photo Bob says:

      Brexit is to blame. Before Brexit, EE would not have been able to do this (even though they wanted to). Now they are allowed to, so they do so.

      I don’t know how you can be so blinkered to not realise that is one of the most clear-cut Brexit benefits there is!

    3. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @Bob and Nathan for that matter. Why can’t you see that this is just corporate greed? There is no need for this, and yet they choose to, but people need to vote with their feet, but they won’t. It is like a lad at work who thinks that paying BT £39 a month for FTTC broadband is good value, the same with people who pay pounds out to sky TV. People started to drop these overpriced companies, they will soon get the message

      Other countries are not in the E.U, I wonder, if their mobile network providers rip them off. It is strange that other providers can do roaming at a decent price, but let’s blame Brexit and not the companies that rip people off.

      The one thing I hate about Brexit, is that it took so long to do, should never have joined the E.U in the first place. Ah, I remember, we did not join the E.U, we joined a common market and then become the United States of Europe

    4. Avatar photo Nathan says:

      Yes it is corporate greed, which is why that EU law was / still would be beneficial to us…. To force EE not to be so greedy in regards to Roaming.

      Sure we got more control back, but what does that really mean.. more power for the Tories, and they sure as hell don’t give a monkeys about roaming charges now do they.

    5. Avatar photo Bob says:

      @Ad47uk Yes! It is patently obvious it is corporate greed. And do you know who else saw that? The EU. And what did they do about it? They legislated against it. What did we do? We left the EU. What happened? The EU law no longer applied because we are no longer EU citizens. Culmination? Corporate greed returned!

      This really is a literally example of one of those glorious Brexit benefits. I cannot think of a more simple and obvious one. The fact you are unable to resolve that shows why it is pointless arguing this with the likes of you.

    6. Avatar photo 4chAnon says:

      Companies do have to pay for intra-group services, I don’t know who told you they don’t. Even in universities different departments pay each other for services provided lol

    7. Avatar photo Anon says:

      The reason why they didn’t charge for roaming in the EU was an EU law. The greed was always there, but they couldn’t do anything. Now there’s no rule, so they charge for roaming.

      Independently of our views on brexit, it is factually wrong to say brexit has nothing to do with it when it eliminated the law that forced them to offer free roaming.

  5. Avatar photo Owen Rudge says:

    I believe they also made a change so that, if you ask to remove the add-on mid-month, this doesn’t take effect until your next billing date, when previously it would be pro-rated to the days you actually used that month. Before that, you could get a week’s roaming in the USA or EU etc for about £2.50, but will now have to pay substantially more depending on your billing and travel dates.

  6. Avatar photo DD says:

    EE’s greedy roaming price increase should be a wake up call to consumers and industry on the Vodafone/Three merger. Anyone on EE should consider an eSIM rather than enrich EE/BT. As an example, I paid $18 for an AT&T eSIM in the US which was unlimited 5G for 5 days. You can also get a Spain 10Gb 30 day eSIM for $7.20 showing how much EE are extorting here.

    1. Avatar photo Mike says:

      Direct or via a third party?

    2. Avatar photo Mike says:

      (the Att esim I am talking about)

    3. Avatar photo DD says:

      I got it though Airhub App – it’s a website despite the name. Had a very good service on AT&T in Chicago – Unlimited for 5 days – eSIM profile was ready to install when I landed just needed to find WiFi to activate

  7. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    Story summed up as:

    EE = BT = GREED

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      Yep, that is what it is and people will still stay with them. I dropped Vodafone years ago because of their greed and is why I went for a Virtual mobile network.

  8. Avatar photo Peter Gradwell says:

    Don’t forget that EE MVNO’s like IQ Mobile – http://www.helloiq.co.uk don’t charge extra for EU roaming and our US/Asia/RoW rates are highly competitive as well!

  9. Avatar photo Jrhop says:

    Just use dual SIM with lebara, free roaming up to 30GB and £5 for 5GB or £10 for 10GB. Can turn the sim off and on as required.

  10. Avatar photo Mad Dog says:

    I don’t understand why people stay with companies like EE/BT. Lots of cheaper and better options out there, especially in the mobile space.

    1. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      cheaper, sure, but better?

      if we discount the EE MVNOs with interesting tax affairs and political donations, those who lose your personal data etc, who is *better* than EE themselves?

      even the objectively good MVNOs like 1pmobile have some gaps, such as still not supporting ESIM

  11. Avatar photo Fibre Scriber says:

    Don’t worry be happy, come 2024 the Indian and his Tory companions are roaming out of office! Q the defenders. Politicians are all the same, like the greedy mobile and internet companies, can’t wait to get their greedy greasy fingers in the pie.

    1. Avatar photo Phil says:

      Can’t see Labour Party will win next GE

    2. Avatar photo Liam says:

      Phil the Labour are no longer the Labour Party.Just red tories with Sir kid starver in charge no thanks.

    3. Avatar photo Anon says:

      Liam, on the other hand, rewarding those who created the mess we’re in might not be that wise.

  12. Avatar photo Rik says:

    The price of roaming outside of the EU has nothing to do with us leaving the EU. It’s just a company taking an opportunity to up its prices because they can.

    It’s like car insurance, energy companies, and the petrol stations.

    1. Avatar photo Anon says:

      You need this addon (or pay per day) to roam in the EU.

      EE no longer offers free EU roaming.

  13. Avatar photo x_term says:

    Been with EE for the past 4 years and was kind happy because after all I have a retention discount… but this? Once the contract is over I had enough. Also quite ridiculous to increase roaming charges when the service itself is appalling: Germany and Italy, the latest destinations where I’ve been and both have turned off 3G already, calling experience on EE is devastating, with 20ish seconds for the phone to do fallback on 2G as EE doesn’t have VoLTE roaming working there. Very often also got dropped calls because you don’t get the same priority in congested areas (QCI is lower than a local SIM).
    My business SIM with vodafone (that on the other hand is quite bad in the south London area where I live) instead worked even better than in under the UK network…

    1. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      Can’t say I noticed any major issues with EE in Germany earlier this year, I think it was mostly (or exclusively) roaming on O2 DE. I didn’t specifically check if VoLTE was working, but clearly that’s still a relatively new area for all telcos to conquer, and it seems to be mostly spurred on by the countries that are shutting down 2G and 3G (notably the US).

      I’d say a lot of it does have to do with the destination network. I noticed in Amsterdam that the service on KPN was far better than T-Mobile NL, both while roaming via EE.

      I found it amusing that T-Mobile DE did not seem to work as a roaming selection even though Google suggests it should and I believe DT still owns a chunk of BT.

  14. Avatar photo last-one says:

    On EE, couple weeks ago in Germany got only EDGE connection no matter the network. They were unable to investigate the issue as I travelled out another day. And they want £25 for that!? Another phone O2 worked seamlessly, super efficiently.
    A week later was travelling again, and all was fine. But from such pricing you would expect top notch everything, wouldn’t you?

    1. Avatar photo squawk says:

      For those having issues with EE in Germany:

      Do a manual network search and select either o2-de (or oddly there are still references to E-Plus) and manually select 4G. It will give you access to both 4G/5G. Do not leave it on auto or select Voda DE if you do, it will hang on to Vodafone-DE EDGE (2G) and data will struggle to work. EE have had issues in Germany for a while and it is now much worse 3G has been turned off, but forcing o2-de 4G will result in a reasonable connection. I am able to get 4G/5G coverage each time I visit using this approach.

      As soon as I leave Germany, things are fine.

  15. Avatar photo GreenLantern22 says:

    O2 might not have the best signal anymore but they currently have what’s probably the best roaming SIM only plan out there: 30 GB £12.99 for 24months (first price increase April 2024). Free roaming in 75 countries including all EU, USA, most of Latin America and Australia. And countries outside of that it’s £6 per day which for 5 days or so it’s reasonable.

  16. Avatar photo Max says:

    If we back in 2009 vodafone decided to give up roaming charges. It’s not Brexit but they own decision to make more profits. I am currently under Lebara and Talkmobile with free roaming in EU. Talkmobile has reintroduced the roaming after losing thousands of clients.

    1. Avatar photo Anon says:

      Of course it’s their own decision to increase profits, but the reason why they all dropped roaming charges in the EU was an EU law that forced them to do it. We left and now they can do whatever they want. So yeah, it’s related to brexit.

  17. Avatar photo Declan McGuinness says:

    Glad am on O2 now inclusive roaming in the USA Europe etc all included cause av got Volt getting upgraded to 1 Gig today for free too happy days

  18. Avatar photo ACdeag says:

    I thought about EE but went for 1pMobile in the end, has exactly the same frequencies/coverage as full EE, no speed restrictions, half the price, wifi calling, 5G, Volte and EU roaming.

  19. Avatar photo Vince says:

    The comments here really demonstrate that people don’t read the articles just headlines and then kick off. This has nothing to do with general EU roaming, but a specific product that only impacts a few countries that the add-on gives an allowance for.

    Anyone using it regularly would surely also be on a plan where you can have some inclusive add ons which make it considerably less than even the revised pricing. What that tells you though is that the cost isn’t massively increasing to EE at all.

    1. Avatar photo Anon says:

      EE no longer offers free roaming in the EU. If you want to roam in the EU, you either pay per day or buy this addon that now costs £25.

      Unless I’m missing something, the points made by most comments are correct.

  20. Avatar photo Rw10 says:

    Just get an all rounder or full-works plan, then you get the roam abroad pass as a smart benefit

    1. Avatar photo Anon says:

      Wouldn’t it be cheaper to pay this once a year when you go on holidays than paying more for the rest of the year?

    2. Avatar photo Declan McGuinness says:

      Yes and pay through the nose for it

    3. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      it’s not £25/mo extra when part of the plan though, and if you’re going to use the other benefits like Apple One or Netflix then it may cost in quite well.

  21. Avatar photo Guy Cashmore says:

    Hopefully the LEO networks will bring to an end the outrageous roaming prices charged by the incumbent networks, they have got away with it for far too long.

    1. Avatar photo No One says:

      The bandwidth from the satellite to the phone is very limited. When Starlink made their announcement, they mentioned up to 4 megabits per cell. Looking at the maps available online, a country like the UK seems to be 3 cells “tall”. That’s a lot of people for so little bandwidth.

      Maybe in the future it will be possible, but for now satellite service will be for basic, low bandwidth services like SMS, not to upload pictures of our holidays to Instagram.

  22. Avatar photo Pepstar says:

    I joined EE on a 12 month in March, I’ll be absolutely leaving EE in march as the £25 a month is just crazy. I’m currently in Rome and using my work SIM on o2 rather than dealing with EE’s daily charges.

    Premium network, my arse!

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