Roaming charges are back after Brexit: watch out for high mobile bills | Mobile phones

RMobile charges have made a strong comeback since Brexit, so if your mobile phone is never far from your hand, it’s important to make sure your post-holiday glow isn’t ruined by a call and data bill when you arrive. House.

Nearly all the big mobile carriers, including EE, Sky Mobile, Three and Vodafone, have reintroduced roaming charges in the EU, with giffgaff and Tesco Mobile being the latest names to announce contract changes.

giffgaff has told his customers that from July 26 they will only be able to use up to 5GB of data per month in the EU. Above that level, they will be charged 10 pence per MB. In a post on its website, the company blamed the move on connection charges incurred when people commute in the EU.

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

In another change, the sun is setting on the free roaming that Tesco Mobile customers enjoy on their home to home contract. Starting in early 2023, new subscriptions and upgrade customers will lose this benefit; Existing customers will continue to enjoy this benefit as long as they don’t change their device or move to a SIM-only contract. Roaming charges will be 10 pence per MB for data, 20 pence for text and 55 pence per minute for calls.

In 2017, mobile networks in EU countries were banned from charging customers to use their phones in other member countries, with the right to make calls, send text messages and, most importantly, use data allowances. anywhere in Europe, as if they were at home. of the most popular pieces of European legislation in the UK. However, the Brexit deal did not include ongoing protection against roaming charges.

Since charges differ between networks, it’s a “confusing time” to travel with your phone, says Ernest Doku, a telecommunications expert at price comparison and exchange service Uswitch.com.

As a first step, Doku suggests that you check the roaming rates for your destination and see if your provider has a fair use policy. This means they can restrict your total UK allowance even if you have an unlimited plan at home. Three, for example, has a fair usage limit of 12GB, and you’ll be charged £3 per GB if you exceed it.

Someone uses their mobile phone to play songs while relaxing with headphones on during a summer vacation
Have you checked the roaming rates of your holiday destination? Photograph: Elizaveta Galitckaia/Alamy

Of the big four carriers, O2 is the only one to say it does not currently plan to bring back roaming charges, while Virgin Mobile customers should also be safe from roaming charges “for this year at least”, says Doku.

“Depending on when you last signed up for a mobile or SIM offer, or upgraded your phone, you may be protected from new roaming charges from your provider, as they will not be included in your contract at that time,” add.

If you switch networks, you may be able to continue roaming at no additional cost and save money on your bills, too. “O2 is the last major network not to recoup roaming charges for customers traveling to the EU, but some smaller sim-only networks also offer inclusive roaming in Europe and could be a good option if you don’t venture too far” Doko says. .

The easiest way to avoid accidental charges while abroad is to go to the settings menu of your mobile and disable roaming. If you need to connect, use the Wi-Fi at your hotel or at local restaurants and bars. Also remember to put your phone on airplane mode when in transit to avoid incurring charges when passing through different territories.

Another radical option is to turn off the phone and relax. Come on, you know you can do it.

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