EU roaming charges are back after Brexit – beware of high mobile bills | Mobile phones

Rhigh charges are back with a bang since Brexit, so if your mobile is never far from your hand, it’s important to make sure your post-holiday glow isn’t ruined by a call and data shock bill when you get home.

Nearly all major mobile phone companies, including EE, Sky Mobile, Three and Vodafone, have reintroduced EU roaming charges, with giffgaff and Tesco Mobile being the last names to announce contract changes.

Giffgaff has informed its customers that from July 26, they will be able to use up to 5 GB of data per month in the EU. Above that level, 10 cents per MB will be charged. In a post on its website, the company blamed the move on connection charges people incur when roaming in the EU.

Giffgaff said it had “made the decision to cut some of that cost so we can give our members at least up to 5GB to roam in the EU, at no extra cost”. It pointed to 2019 usage data, which showed that over 90% of its members had used less than that figure when roaming in the EU.

Another change is that the sun is setting on the free roaming that Tesco Mobile customers enjoy with their Home from Home contract. Beginning in early 2023, new signups and upgrade customers will lose this benefit; existing customers will continue to enjoy this benefit, provided they do not change their device or switch to a SIM-only contract. Roaming charges are 10 cents per MB of data, 20 cents per SMS and 55 cents per minute for calls.

In 2017, mobile networks in EU countries were banned from charging customers extra for using their phones in other member states, with the right to call, text and, most importantly, use data caps anywhere in Europe – as if they were at home – one of the most popular European legislation in the UK. However, the Brexit deal did not include ongoing protection against roaming charges.

Because costs vary by network, it’s a “confusing time” to travel with your phone, says Ernest Doku, a telecom expert at the price comparison and switching service Uswitch.com.

As a first step, Doku recommends checking the roaming charges for your destination and see if your carrier has a reasonable usage policy. This means they can limit your full UK benefit even if you have an unlimited plan at home. Three, for example, has a reasonable usage limit of 12 GB and will be charged £3 per GB if you exceed it.

Someone is using her cell phone to play songs while relaxing with her headphones on during a summer vacation
Have you checked the roaming charges for your holiday destination? Photo: Elizaveta Galitckaia/Alamy

Of the four major companies, O2 is the only one to say it currently has no plans to reduce roaming charges, while Virgin Mobile customers should also be protected from roaming charges “at least this year,” Doku says.

“Depending on when you last got a cellular or SIM deal, or upgraded your phone, you may be shielded from your carrier’s new roaming charges as they aren’t included in your contract at the time,” he adds. he to it.

If you switch networks, you may be able to continue roaming at no extra cost – and save money on your bills too. “O2 is the last major network to offer no roaming cutbacks for customers traveling to the EU, but some smaller SIM-only networks also offer roaming included in Europe and can be a good option if you don’t go too far,” says Doku . †

The easiest way to avoid accidental charges abroad is to go to your mobile’s settings menu and disable roaming. If you need to get online, use the Wi-Fi in your hotel or in local restaurants and bars. Also, don’t forget to put your phone on airplane mode when you’re on the road to avoid incurring costs when traveling through different areas.

Another radical option is to turn off your phone and just relax. Keep going, you know you can do it.

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