Roaming Charges Coming for UK Customers in Europe

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Brexit has caused no shortage of frustration for the UK since its formal implementation at the start of this year. From a row over sausage exports to confusion over who can enter the country, the process of disentangling the country from the continent has been arduous. Today, yet another wrinkle has surfaced in the ongoing saga: two major cell phone companies will begin charging roaming fees for customers in Europe again.

While previously the EU was not considered roaming for most cell phone providers, the new rules in place for the UK make it exempt from EU protections for cell phone users.

EU Protections No Longer Apply

The EU “Roam Like at Home” rules went into effect in 2017. Those rules make it so that citizens of EU member states aren’t charged extra for data or cell phone usage when they’re roaming in Europe. These rules essentially eliminated all roaming charges for the entirety of Europe, making travel that much easier and simpler for Europeans.

A citizen from the UK could take a holiday to France and still browse their phone and call home without worrying about paying extra. Starting later this year, however, that will no longer be the case.

Customers of cell providers EE and O2 will soon be subjected to roaming charges once again. EE’s policy change will take effect in January of 2022, and will introduce a fee of two pounds per day for customers using their phones outside of the UK.

O2, meanwhile, will begin charging £3.50 per gigabyte for overages that occur while roaming.

Other Issues Persist

The issue of cell phone roaming charges applying within the EU is only one aspect of the ongoing frustrations with Brexit. Other issues that have made new recently include a fight between the UK and the EU over the exporting of chilled meat products.

That particular fight was due to the UK’s desire to extend a grace period for shipping sausages and similar chilled meat products to Northern Ireland. While Northern Ireland is technically part of the UK, it shares a land border with Ireland, which is in the EU. This has resulted in a complicated arrangement for NI’s shipping, as it essentially treats its border with the rest of the UK as a hard border, and EU customs laws apply to shipments entering the country.

While the EU has backed off for now and extended the grace period another three months, the fight is just one facet of the ongoing confusion and unforeseen consequences that have followed Brexit.