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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Virgin Mobile and O2 users will not face EU roaming charges

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Virgin Mobile and O2 phone users will not face roaming charges following announcements by other networks to reintroduce extra fees after Brexit.

Customers travelling to Europe will be able to use their mobile data, make calls, and send texts using the same plan they have in the UK.

Vodafone, EE, and Three are set to reintroduce roaming fees for customers travelling to Europe this year.

Which?, a consumer advocacy group, has urged the UK and the EU to “strike a deal” on fees.

Prior to the UK’s exit from the EU, users could use their mobile plans’ calls, texts, and data allowances in any EU country after the bloc eliminated roaming charges in 2017.

The EU trade deal of December 2020, on the other hand, gave mobile operators the option of reintroducing charges.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed Virgin and O2’s decision to keep roaming free across Europe in a tweet.

Based on an analysis of rates from other providers, Virgin Media O2, the company that owns the Virgin Mobile and O2 networks, said a family of four going abroad for two weeks could see an extra £100 on their bill.

“We’re starting the year by giving our customers certainty: we will not reintroduce roaming fees in Europe for O2 or Virgin Mobile customers,” said Gareth Turpin, chief commercial officer.

“With many Britons planning trips abroad, we’ve got our customers covered, and extra roaming charges will be one less thing to worry about.”

Vodafone intends to reinstate roaming charges at the end of January, while EE intends to do so in March. Due to testing and technical issues, both networks delayed reintroducing the charges earlier.

Meanwhile, Three plans to implement fees in May.

Customers who joined or upgraded with EE after 7 July 7 2021 will be charged a £2 daily roaming fee in EU countries, whereas Vodafone will charge the same fee to those who joined the network after 11 August 11 or upgraded or renewed their contract.

Both companies will, however, offer deals to avoid the fee, with EE customers able to purchase a 30-day roaming pass for £10 and Vodafone customers able to pay £1 per day for an eight or 15-day pass.

Three will implement a £2 daily charge for anyone who joins or upgrades after October 1, 2021.

‘Reassuring’

Sue Davies, Whichhead ?’s of consumer protection policy, said it was “reassuring” that Virgin Media O2 had provided customers with some certainty.

“As the UK negotiates trade deals, it should seize the opportunity to reduce the cost of roaming for consumers travelling around the world,” she added.

“The UK and EU should also work together to reach an agreement on roaming charges to prevent companies from eroding the roaming benefits that customers have grown accustomed to, and to ensure that the high charges that people used to face do not return.”

In April last year, a £31bn merger between Virgin Media and O2 was approved, making it one of the the UK’s largest entertainment and telecoms firms.

 

SourceBBC
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