Brexit And Mobile Roaming – It’s Not Us, It’s Them That’s The Problem


One of the terrors of Brexit is that the ban on excess mobile roaming charges would no longer apply. We could just be charged whatever when we took our phones on holiday!

That the market will regulate, as markets always do, is still left unsaid. And as the market did in fact regulate before the ban. It was entirely possible to get mobile deals with no roaming charges, low ones, pay a little add on for short trips, get stung with whatever costs and so on. Those who desired to be able to call whenever and wherever could do so, those who didn’t weren’t stung with the cost.

But, you know, leaving the EU might mean paying £10 extra to call Granny back at home.

The thing is though this isn’t a fault of either us or the UK mobile operators. It’s a risk being faced because of the European mobile operators:

Last September the government set out its policy on the prospect of roaming charges in the event of a failure to introduce a withdrawal agreement. “In the event that we leave the EU without a deal, the costs that EU mobile operators would be able to charge UK operators for providing roaming services would no longer be regulated after March 2019. This would mean that surcharge-free roaming when you travel to the EU could no longer be guaranteed. This would include employees of UK companies travelling in the EU for business,” the government stated at the time.

The point about an international call being that there are two companies involved. The one we’re using to make the call, the one that is being used over the border to deliver it. UK legislation will have no power over those on the other side of the border. They could charge whatever they liked for their part of routing the call.

We can’t, therefore, place limits on what can be charged for the total call – because our mobile companies aren’t in control of it. It’s up to the European mobile companies what those calls will cost therefore.

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