EU roaming charges: How much are new EE roaming fees for European travel? Did Brexit cause return? Are O2 and Three charging too?

Just one day after Brexit Day (June 23) marked five years since the UK voted to leave the European Union, mobile network operator EE announced the return of roaming charges for Brits in 47 European destinations.

Roaming charges: EE bring back charges on mobile usage abroad as O2 and Three reduce fair use data caps. (Photo: PA)

The announcement today (June 24) from the provider departs from their previous pledge to not bring back charges on data roaming in Europe after Brexit.

The return of surcharges on roaming in Europe for EE customers will be the first time which such fees have been seen since they were largely suspended in June 2017.

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Did Brexit cause the return of roaming fees?

Mobile charges were one of many key contested issues in the UK’s Brexit Trade Agreement.

When the Brexit transition period ended on January 1 2021, UK mobile operators were no longer obliged to keep roaming costs free for customers travelling to European counties.

EE, O2, Vodafone and Three all stated last year that they were not planning to make any changes to their roaming policies.

Rocio Concha, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Which?, said: "As the UK continues to negotiate trade deals, it must use this opportunity to lower the cost of roaming for consumers.

"The UK and EU must also urgently strike a deal on roaming charges to stop companies chipping away at the roaming benefits customers have become used to and to ensure the high charges consumers used to face do not return."

How much will these roaming fees be?

EE will introduce a new flat fee of £2 per day for customers roaming across 47 European destinations from January 2022.

The flat fee will allow customers to use their plan’s existing minutes, texts and data.

The changes will apply only to new customers or those upgrading to EE from July 7 2021.

A spokesperson for EE said the move “will support investment into our UK based customer service and leading UK network.”

They added: “Customers travelling abroad for longer will be able to use a 30-day Roam Abroad Pass.

"Essential plan customers will be able to take the Pass for £10, while Smart or Full Works plans customers are able to include the same pass as part of their plan.”

Are other providers bringing back roaming charges?

While announcing changes to its roaming policy, O2 has not exactly reintroduced charges in a similar fashion to EE.

O2 has instead introduced a new fair use cap on data usage – with Pay Monthly users having to pay an additional £3.50 for every gigabyte of data used abroad over a 25GB threshold.

This will take effect from August 2 2021.

The fair use cap on data, while notable for its timing, is a widely accepted practice for mobile operators and one with which many UK customers are familiar when travelling abroad in Europe.

Three, likewise, has altered its Go Roam package – lowering its previous 20GB of fair use data cap to 12GB.

The move will bring Three’s fair use data cap on European roaming in line with that of its international package.

This means that O2 and Three have technically not reintroduced charges – with Vodafone also not following in EE’s footsteps.

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