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Vodafone reapplies roaming fee for Britons travelling to EU

August 10, 2021

New and upgrading customers face fees of up to £2 per day

Vodafone has become the latest mobile network to reapply roaming charges for Britons travelling to the EU.

The post-Brexit decision means new and upgrading customers will face fees of up to £2 ($2.77) a day to use their monthly allowance of data, calls and texts during trips to the continent.

The move follows rival network BT-owned EE, which reintroduced roaming charges in June.

Ahmed Essam, Vodafone’s chief executive in the UK, said including roaming in every plan makes it unfair for the majority of customers who are 'not regular roamers'.

“Fewer than half our customers roamed beyond the Republic of Ireland in 2019. And the reality is that including roaming – a service that costs us money to provide – in every plan means more than half of our customers are paying for something that they don’t use,” Mr Essam said.

Existing customers will not be affected by the changes if they remain on their current price plan and the new roaming charges will only apply to new or upgrading customers from August 11, with the fees applying from January 6 next year.

Roaming fees when travelling across Europe ended in June 2017, allowing consumers to continue using their mobile plan in EU nations at no additional cost, with a fair-use limit.

Under the UK’s Brexit trade agreement, it said both sides should “co-operate on promoting transparent and reasonable rates” for mobile charges but a guarantee on free roaming was not continued.

While network providers were allowed to bring back charges once the UK had left the EU, the four main players – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – initially said they had no plans to do so.

O2 allows a roaming limit of 25GB, with any data used over that charged at £3.50 per gigabyte, while Three has cut its fair-use data limit from 20GB a month to 12GB when in Europe, charging £3 per gigabyte above that.

Under Vodafone’s new proposal, holidaymakers can reduce the cost to £1 a day by purchasing an eight or 15-day bundle.

Meanwhile, the company’s more expensive Xtra plans will still have roaming included, while roaming in Ireland will be exempt for all customers.

Mr Essam said changing the way the company offers roaming to its customers will free up capital to invest in the network and offset rising costs associated with new security measures needed to comply with the Telecoms Security Requirements.

Mr Essam said the new roaming fees will not result in consumers being hit with 'unexpectedly high bills' and 'everything will be transparent and easy to understand'.