Three UK has announced that it will reintroduce roaming charges despite claiming last year that they intended to provide free EU roaming services to its customers “regardless of Brexit negotiations”.
Up until now, Three UK customers had been able to use their domestic allowances for calls, texts, and data when travelling around the EU subject to a fair usage policy.
The network provider had previously reworded its fair usage policy in July to reduce the limit for EU roaming data from 20GB per month, to just 12GB.
Three UK made the following statement regarding the changes:
“From 23 May 2022 customers who have taken out a new contract or upgraded with Three from 1 October 2021 will pay a charge of £2 per day when roaming within the EU and £5 a day when roaming outside the EU. Pay as you go customers and customers who have taken out a contract before 1 October 2021 are unaffected by these changes. Customers roaming in the Republic of Ireland are also unaffected.
“We know that Go Roam has always been important to our customers and we had hoped to retain this benefit, but unfortunately there are now too many unknowns, which has made it commercially unviable for us to continue. This includes variations to the underlying cost of roaming, meaning we now have no visibility over the maximum amount it will cost us to provide a service for our customers to use their phone while abroad.
“We want to keep our roaming pricing as simple and affordable for customers as possible, and we think a flat charge of £2 in the EU and £5 outside the EU reflects this. It also means only those who roam will pay for the service, rather than customers who stay in the UK also absorbing this cost.
“We are investing billions of pounds in improving our network and infrastructure and already offer some of the most cost-effective deals on the market – implementing a separate roaming fee will enable us to continue to do this.”
The UK government did recently legislate a £45 cap on roaming charges so that mobile users travelling in the EU do not come home to unexpected bills from their network providers, however, operators are not required to retain free roaming services post-Brexit.
The recent EU-UK Trade Agreement made no guarantees of free EU roaming going forward, but only went as far as to require “measures to encourage cooperation on the promotion of fair and transparent rates for international mobile roaming services in ways that can help promote the growth of trade among the Parties and enhance consumer welfare.”
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