Three Is The Only UK Network That Will Commit To Not Reinstating Roaming Charges After Brexit

By James O Malley on at

Yesterday was a big day for Europe, as mobile roaming charges were abolished across the continent. Thanks to the European Union's Digital Single Market initiative, mobile networks are now unable to charge you exorbitant fees when you travel in any of the 27 other EU countries. This means that you can call, text, and crucially use data as you would in Britain.

But, as we pointed out yesterday, thanks to Brexit we might not have seen the last of roaming fees. Given we don't know what sort of exit deal (if any) Britain will end up with, it is conceivable that roaming charges could be slapped right back on us on the 29th March 2019 - the day Britain will officially leave the EU.

The Giz UK Brexit Challenge

And this is why we decided to present the four major UK phone networks with what we're rather grandly calling the Giz UK Brexit Challenge: Would any of the networks be willing to commit now, publicly, to not reintroducing roaming fees after Brexit?

Planning to do this in summer 2019? It might cost you.

All four networks have now responded to us - and only one network, Three, gave us the news that we want to hear.

A spokesperson told us:

"We are committed to retaining Feel at Home in the EU and regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations."

We queried whether this also includes a Hard Brexit - a situation (which seems distressingly likely) where Britain quits both the Single Market and the Customs Union. Sadly, Three didn't respond directly on this point - but given the company has said boldly said "regardless", we're going to give 'em a tick and hold them to this commitment later, whatever sort of shitshow Brexit ends up becoming.

So what about the other networks? Sadly they weren't so forthcoming, and instead their spokespeople offered some non-committal canned quotes - scoring them a poo emoji in the Giz UK Brexit Challenge.

Here's EE:

"We’ve just introduced a great new range of price plans offering customers inclusive roaming benefits – and we have no plans to change these. We hope the government will also put consumers at the top of their agenda in the coming Brexit negotiations to help ensure that UK operators can continue to offer some of the lowest prices in Europe to their customers."

And here's Vodafone:

"It’s too soon to assess the implications of Brexit on roaming regulation, however, we expect competition will continue to drive good value for customers."

And here's O2:

"Making calls, sending texts and using mobile data in any European country will cost our customers the same as it will in the UK, starting from 15 June this year. We will be engaging with the Government and Ofcom to discuss what may happen in the future once the UK officially leaves the EU."

Three Is The Best Post-Brexit Roaming Option

So congratulations Three - you've won the Giz UK Brexit Challenge. If you want the best chance of continuing to roam freely post-Brexit, when your phone contract comes up for renewal it might be time to switch over to Three.