Last June rules came into effect that means everyone within the EU couldn't be charged extra for using their allowances in other EU countries, something that has been in jeopardy since Brexit. In fact it was confirmed yesterday that those regulations would not apply to us once we leave the EU, and so far Three was the only network that would commit to continuing to not charge customers obscene amounts of cash.
Well there's some good news for O2 customers, because today the network has announced that it will be launching free roaming on 27 additional non-EU countries, including:
Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Greenland, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yemen.
That brings the grand total up to 75.
If that number seems a bit high, it seems to be because O2 has inflated the numbers to make its 'Europe Zone' coverage look larger than it actually is. That's why the list includes places like Jersey, Guernsey, The Vatican, The Canary Islands, and other areas that would normally fall under the general banner of a larger EU country.
This news coincides with O2 announcing new Flexible Refresh tariffs, which let customers change their tariff once a month without any major penalties - though there are some catches involved if you switch to certain tariffs that could see you lose existing benefits and perks.
What's more, some of those tariffs offer the extended roaming for anyone eligible for free roaming within O2's designated 'Europe Zone' - which is currently everyone.
The interesting question here is whether the non-European roaming means O2 will still offer this perk after Brexit. Since we now know networks won't be forced to not charge us obscene amounts of money for using our allowances in Europe, it's something they're going to have to think about. As we mentioned before Three has so far been the only network to fully commit to it, and I've asked O2 if today's announcement changes anything. I'll update this if I hear back.
Update: O2 still won't commit, simply saying:
We’re committed to providing our customers with great connectivity and value when they travel overseas. We currently have no plans to change our roaming services across Europe. We’re engaged with the government with regards to what may happen once the UK officially leaves the EU.
Which is basically what they said last year, but with different wording.