Using your data, sending texts or calling abroad used to be a sure way of receiving an astronomical phone bill at the end of the month. Recent changes to EU regulations, however, have put this all behind us. Read on to find out exactly how much you could be paying when on holiday!
Good news – from the 15th of June, roaming charges will be a thing of the past, at least in EU countries. The new “roam like at home” rules allow you to use your company or personal phone while travelling in a EU country without paying any extra roaming charges.
These rules apply to calls (both to mobile and landlines), texts, and data. Basically, you’ll pay the exact same amount while abroad as if you were using your phone from your home country. Existing contracts will automatically be updated to include the “roam like at home” rule – and it’ll be the default option for any new mobile contracts bought after this date. However, you should keep in mind that calling an EU country from the UK isn’t included in the new regulations, and some charges will still apply. More details on the regulations for users and networks can be found on the European Commission’s website.
Depending on your contract and mobile operator, some extra rules and limitations might apply to your data usage. Still, it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself stuck without any 4G in the middle of writing an important email to a client!
The UK’s decision to leave the European Union makes things a little uncertain. What happens to the rules? Short term, it’s unlikely anything will change. While negotiations, expected to last two years, are underway the rules will continue to apply to the UK.
However, once the two-year period is up, and the UK officially leaves the EU, it’s possible that the rule will no longer be enforced. There’s a chance that roaming costs in the EU could rise, but it’s also likely that the government will enforce the same rules with new, local legislation. There’s still hope for free roaming! More information will become available nearer the time.
Time for the bad news: the UK government has announced plans to add VAT to roaming charges for countries outside of the EU, adding an extra 20% to your calls, texts, and data usage. However, many operators offer free roaming to countries like Australia, New Zealand and the USA under certain conditions – when travelling to one of those countries, you may want to purchase an add-on to ensure you don’t overspend. (For example, Vodafone offer international ‘Bolt Ons’ for just £3 per month, covering 100 countries.)
Check your operator’s website for an up to date list of charges per country – you might find that some free international minutes are already included in your contract. If you need more information on your existing contract, or if you’re looking for a new deal with more international minutes, come talk to us!
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