No Deal Brexit opens the door to roaming rates return

No Deal Brexit opens the door to roaming rates return

The Government yesterday laid out its proposals for the future of mobile roaming in Europe should the UK leave the EU without a deal in place. As previously set out in the technical notice published in September 2018, should an implementation period be agreed, the current rules governing using a mobile phone in Europe will remain in effect until the end of 2020 and thereafter would depend on the terms agreed in the Future Economic Partnership.

However, if no deal is reached before March 29th, when the UK is due to leave the EU, the wholesale roaming rates currently governing the charges that European operators levy on each other will no longer apply to UK operators. As a consequence of these rates returning to being agreed through commercial negotiations, UK operators may face higher charges for using a European network, and whilst they will in turn be free to impose higher charges on European operators roaming in the UK, the current asymmetric travel plans would still see a shortfall in making up costs.

UK consumers will no longer be able to benefit from the European rules guaranteeing surcharge free roaming, although operators may choose to maintain the status quo of ‘roaming like at home’ and adjust business models or lower investment elsewhere, or adjust prices accordingly.

The rules now laid before Parliament, however, will seek to ensure that the transparency mechanisms that ensure that customers are informed on data usage abroad will remain in effect and continue to cap data usage at a €50 equivalent. Although how much data that €50 would buy would no longer be subject to European safeguards.

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