Leaked analysis suggests that mobile phone roaming charges are likely post-Brexit. The EU ban on roaming charges, which comes into effect in June 2017, will not apply to UK travellers after Brexit.
This will apply to some 45 million mobile phone owners in the UK. According to The Guardian newspaper and Uswitch, the average Briton was charged £61 in roaming charges from the EU in 2015 and these costs look likely to return.
EU roaming legislation
The European Commission announced only last week that European citizens would, from June 2017, be able to makes calls, send text messages and browse the web on their smartphone, at the same price that they pay at home.
This piece of European legislation (EU Regulation No. 531/2012) has take years to put together and would have significantly reduced the cost of roaming across the EU, for UK citizens
The EU has for years been forcing mobile phone operators to reduce roaming charges. Some have done this willingly and ahead of time, in an attempt to get a competitive edge, prior to the June ban.
British citizens will now be forced to pay the mobile phone operator’s roaming charges across the EU, post-Brexit. This is according to the European Parliament committee that helped to put in place the legislation, that would have removed these charges.
Unless the government secures a deal with the EU by 2019, business travellers and holidaymakers alike will face roaming charges, but here lies a problem:
Worse case scenario for EU roaming charges
WTO (World Trade Organization) rules indicate the ‘worse case scenario’ because it states that the EU cannot offer a non-EU country a copy-cat deal, without offering the same deal to all 164 WTO countries.
Examples of what non-EU countries pay for roaming includes Americans whom pay 10 Euro per MB of data and up to 50 Euro for streaming a song. Switzerland is another as they are not part of the EU, leaving Swedish consumers paying the highest rates in Europe for data when roaming, according to a report from Quartz Media.
The end result here is that British citizens may need to revert back to decades-past tactics of either buying an EU SIM card or finding a phone booth, for calling home at an affordable price.
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Written by: Michael Brown