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EU mobile roaming charges will not return post-Brexit, says Dominic Raab

Amid fears that a no-deal Brexit could lead to the reintroduction of EU mobile roaming charges, the government has pledged to set a legislative limit on how much operators can charge

Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has promised that the UK won’t see the return of mobile roaming charges, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Concerns have been mounting that once the UK leaves the EU and is no longer part of the EU’s digital single market, the abolition of mobile roaming charges, which only came into force on 15 June 2017, would become null and void.

With the second of the government’s No Deal Brexit contingency planning notices due this week, one of which is likely to include telecoms, these concerns have increased.  

However, earlier this year, both Three and Vodafone committed not to reintroduce roaming tariffs. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Brexit secretary said some mobile network operators, including Vodafone and Three, had pledged to not reintroduce the charges.

“They’ve publicly said they wouldn’t introduce any fees for UK consumers travelling on the continent,” he said.

Computer Weekly understands O2 is another operator that does not plan to reintroduce the charges.

However, Raab did not guarantee charges wouldn’t return at all, but that even if some of the operators chose to reintroduce fees, they would not be of the same magnitude, and would be capped.

“What we’ve said is obviously we’d like to see other companies follow suit, but in any event we would legislate for a limit on roaming charges to make sure, in a no-deal scenario, that we protect British consumers,” he said.

When free mobile roaming in the EU came into force in 2017, it followed long debates and discussions in Brussels, including industry concerns over losing significant revenue streams. Now, however, most mobile network operators seem keen to keep their customers happy and roaming cost free. 

Earlier this year, mobile network operator Three’s CEO, Dave Dyson, said it was the company’s ambition to offer customers “100% roaming worldwide at no extra cost”, adding that it would “continue to abolish unfair roaming charges until we achieve this”.

“To reassure our customers, we have also committed to maintain the availability of roaming in the EU at no additional cost following Brexit,” he said.

EE has also said it has no plans to change its current roaming offers.  

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