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Users of Virgin Mobile and O2 networks based in the UK will not face EU roaming charges when traveling abroad, the company that owns both networks has announced (via BBC News).

virgin-media-o2.jpg

Based on an analysis of rates from other provides, Virgin Media O2 said a family of four going abroad for two weeks could see an extra £100 on their bill. As such, the company said it would not be re-introducing EU roaming charges, post-Brexit.
"We're starting the year by giving our customers some certainty: we will not be reintroducing roaming fees in Europe for customers on O2 or Virgin Mobile," said Gareth Turpin, chief commercial officer.

"With many Brits now looking to plan a trip abroad, we've got our customers covered and extra roaming charges will be one less thing to worry about."
In 2021, Three, EE, and Vodafone announced the return of roaming charges to come into effect later this year.

Before the U.K. formally exited the European Union, mobile customers generally didn't have to worry about roaming charges when using their phone in the EU, with most phone tariffs counting calls, texts, and data used in EU countries as equivalent to domestic use.

When the UK-EU trade deal was signed in December 2020, mobile operators were once again able to charge customers when traveling in Europe with "transparent and reasonable rates."

Originally, EE, Three, and Vodafone stated they had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges after Brexit, but all have since announced changes, some under a "fair use" clause.

Article Link: UK's Virgin Mobile and O2 Network Users Won't Face EU Roaming Charges When Traveling Abroad
 
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Deej

macrumors regular
Apr 25, 2005
148
54
UK
This is A.Good.Thing! We in the UK need to do more with the other telcos to 'encourage' them not to reintroduce the roaming charges.. Most of them are part of another group which own the networks in Europe (and beyond) too, so any noise around interconnect costs is just rubbish..
 

addictive

macrumors 6502
Jul 6, 2008
363
348
I've been with EE for over five years probably longer but they are re-introducing roaming fees. First of all it was meant to be this month now it's March. If they don't change their policy (and they still might) then I'll be switching from EE to O2.

The mobile phone networks are going to face such severe backlash for gouging their customers. They came out last year at the beginning of the Brexit transition promising there would be no re-introduction of price increases now EU roaming was no more. Then several months later one network says they will increase charges. Then another network, then a third network.

I hope Vodafone, EE and Three all lose millions of customers to O2 who are the only network to resist the gouging of their customers.

These are all trans-national companies, their costs are not increasing because of Brexit. It's simple profiteering and given their stupidity in first announcing no price increases were coming the networks deserve the PR nightmare some of them will experience this year.

They have a few weeks/months to go back on their policy because if there is mass tourism in Europe from the UK this summer people are gonna have huge phone bills again and it's gonna be an apocalyptic show of negative news stories for these greedy networks.
 

addictive

macrumors 6502
Jul 6, 2008
363
348
This is A.Good.Thing! We in the UK need to do more with the other telcos to 'encourage' them not to reintroduce the roaming charges.. Most of them are part of another group which own the networks in Europe (and beyond) too, so any noise around interconnect costs is just rubbish..
Exactly. I hope there's numerous negative stories about the gouging of the other networks and a vast number of customers from these networks all migrate to O2.

Personally I do wonder if this is part of O2's strategy here. Refuse to re-introduce roaming and vacuum up all the disgruntled customers from Vodafone/EE/Three over the next year. They could add a huge number of unhappy customers.
 

leebroath

macrumors 65816
Jul 26, 2010
1,230
840
Scotland
Well, let's hope EE look at this, and as they are the 'UK's no.1 provider for x amount of years' they will see sense and abandon the idea to start charging.

I travel a lot for work and utilise the free roaming a lot, if EE don't change, then I'll be moving.
 

Quu

macrumors 68040
Apr 2, 2007
3,338
6,451
Finally some competition. We have so many mobile networks but they all seem like copies of each other 99% of the time offering the same prices, deals and restrictions.
 
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Unggoy Murderer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2011
988
3,131
Edinburgh, UK
[...] Personally I do wonder if this is part of O2's strategy here. Refuse to re-introduce roaming and vacuum up all the disgruntled customers from Vodafone/EE/Three over the next year. They could add a huge number of unhappy customers.
I was with O2 for many years and had very few issues (apart from a major network outage in 2018 I think). Otherwise they were excellent. I moved to Tesco Mobile (who are a virtual operator using O2's infrastructure) just because I wanted a cheaper SIM. Wouldn't hesitate to go back to them if the need arose for it.

I hear far fewer complaints about O2 than I do over EE or Vodafone. It would be sensible for people to move to O2 in general, not just because of the roaming charges not being imposed, which hardly anyone will be affected by anyway, because Wi-Fi is a thing.
 

addictive

macrumors 6502
Jul 6, 2008
363
348
Finally some competition. We have so many mobile networks but they all seem like copies of each other 99% of the time offering the same prices, deals and restrictions.
Yes, it's an oligopoly and you're right there's so little actual competition, it's a rigged market generating constant revenue for their executives and share holders. This re-introduction of roaming looks like the biggest corporate gamble by those networks.

Why haven't businesses learnt that you can't start charging for something that customers have previously got for free and are now very used to not paying for?
 

barkingmad

macrumors newbie
Jan 10, 2022
10
5
If there are now significantly higher costs with roaming after Brexit - O2 may find they can absorb those (even if losing money on those customers) based on averaging it over their whole, current customer base. But if too many move to them they may find they end up with a high proportion of EU roaming users and find it unsustainable. Seem to remember Three had this type of problem a while ago when they offered truly unlimited 'data' plans and just ended up attracting all the very heaviest data users. Guess it comes down to are the other networks genuinely 'profiteering' or are they passing on the real extra costs?!
 

Unggoy Murderer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2011
988
3,131
Edinburgh, UK
If there are now significantly higher costs with roaming after Brexit - O2 may find they can absorb those (even if losing money on those customers) based on averaging it over their whole, current customer base. But if too many move to them they may find they end up with a high proportion of EU roaming users and find it unsustainable. Seem to remember Three had this type of problem a while ago when they offered truly unlimited 'data' plans and just ended up attracting all the very heaviest data users. Guess it comes down to are the other networks genuinely 'profiteering' or are they passing on the real extra costs?!
That's the thing, there probably aren't any real "costs" to network operators, as they're all pretty much controlled by larger parent / partner networks anyway. EE, 3, and Vodafone are just "exploiting" Brexit to make an easy buck, but O2's apparently thrown a spanner into their plan. Watch them follow suit when customers start leaving.
 
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barkingmad

macrumors newbie
Jan 10, 2022
10
5
Of course switching networks is not necessarily and option - a cheaper network may have poor coverage where you go or be otherwise more expensive. The best option (for the consumer) would be if all the networks reverted to no roaming charges - but that will be a factor of are the new (post Brexit) roaming costs that significant and are networks likely to lose many customers by charging. Suspect for most people they will either be unaffected (not planning on travelling to the EU) or will just pay for an add-on - depends on your plan as some may still include EU roaming at no extra cost but otherwise think Vodafone are charging £1/day for EU roaming after January 2022.
 

barkingmad

macrumors newbie
Jan 10, 2022
10
5
That's the thing, there probably aren't any real "costs" to network operators, as they're all pretty much controlled by larger parent / partner networks anyway. EE, 3, and Vodafone are just "exploiting" Brexit to make an easy buck, but O2's apparently thrown a spanner into their plan. Watch them follow suit when customers start leaving.
I agree and I'd assume largely what a network has to pay when it's UK customer roams in France will be balanced by extra money it charges / receives when a French mobile network customer roams in the UK. Further complicated (as you say) because many of these companies have subsidiaries / networks in many EU countries anyway - for example Vodafone UK customer SIMs will surely preference connecting to Vodafone Espana or Vodafone Greece etc.
 
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barkingmad

macrumors newbie
Jan 10, 2022
10
5
Great! So I need another number for when I travel to EU now!
Doubt it - some contracts may still include EU roaming and if not think Vodafone are charging £1/day and Three £2/day for EU roaming (although may depend on your specific contract / when you signed up). So while I'd rather no charges for EU roaming it's unlikely to be a huge issue for many.
 

krspkbl

macrumors 65816
Jul 20, 2012
1,110
2,226
don't think we should have left the EU at all but here we are... scotland dragged out against its will. anyway, good on VMo2 doing this. any company that reintroduces charges is doing it out of greed. VMo2 will gain a lot of customers and hopefully force others to rethink their approach. i assume MVNO's like Giffgaff who run on o2 are included?

brexit is a mess but this is one small tiny glint of positivity but the whole situation could've been avoided. **** brexit and anyone who voted for or supports it.
 

TwoBytes

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2008
2,975
1,896
I am hopeful EE will follow this, otherwise, they are going to lose a hell of a load of customers. They need to mitigate damage soon to avoid upcoming damage as when people move, they move.

To be honest, I assume there is complete panic in the EE headquarters as they are scrambling to hold onto customers from this announcement. Prices across networks are vastly similar and it's easy to move across these days to another network if you're not tied into a deal.
 

addictive

macrumors 6502
Jul 6, 2008
363
348
Guess it comes down to are the other networks genuinely 'profiteering' or are they passing on the real extra costs?!
Why would the networks come out after Brexit and say there would be no re-introduction of roaming charges if there were real costs involved? This is their biggest mistake. They didn't need to make that statement early in 2020. If they had said nothing and then waited and slowly said we must start charging for roaming again it would have been more believable.

If millions of UK tourists go to Europe this year there will be a steady drip of entirely negative news articles of British people having huge phone bills from their European trip. This will turn the customers against the networks who will probably have to drop the idea in the end.

Add this to the ongoing supply chain issues and the other costs becoming evident because of Brexit and the view of the general public will continue to turn for the negative.
 
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addictive

macrumors 6502
Jul 6, 2008
363
348
Surely you know you can easily take your phone number with you when you switch providers?
He's saying if he needs a new SIM card for when he's on a short trip to Europe to avoid the extortionate fees he would have to pay. Yes, the straight forward option is to move to O2 but depending on location the coverage might not be good enough to use everyday.
 

addictive

macrumors 6502
Jul 6, 2008
363
348
Of course switching networks is not necessarily and option - a cheaper network may have poor coverage where you go or be otherwise more expensive. The best option (for the consumer) would be if all the networks reverted to no roaming charges - but that will be a factor of are the new (post Brexit) roaming costs that significant and are networks likely to lose many customers by charging. Suspect for most people they will either be unaffected (not planning on travelling to the EU) or will just pay for an add-on - depends on your plan as some may still include EU roaming at no extra cost but otherwise think Vodafone are charging £1/day for EU roaming after January 2022.
I think if the British do travel en masse to Europe this summer (or this year) there's gonna be the most almighty backlash against the phone networks. It's such a terrible policy from them and entirely unnecessary, totally self-inflicted injury.

The fact Vodafone has put back their re-introduction a few weeks, EE by three months and Three by five months suggests to me that these networks are uncertain about whether to go forward with this new strategy.

I imagine by the end of the summer the networks will have dropped the re-introduction of roaming charges. Not just because of this on its own but the cost of living is gonna continue rising in the UK and the idea of Brexit is going to become ever more unpopular.
 
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barkingmad

macrumors newbie
Jan 10, 2022
10
5
I am hopeful EE will follow this, otherwise, they are going to lose a hell of a load of customers. They need to mitigate damage soon to avoid upcoming damage as when people move, they move.

To be honest, I assume there is complete panic in the EE headquarters as they are scrambling to hold onto customers from this announcement. Prices across networks are vastly similar and it's easy to move across these days to another network if you're not tied into a deal.
Can't see them losing a 'hell of a load' of customers - for many people it's a non issue as they do not intend to travel to the EU in the near future. Those that do want to go on holiday in the EU may have to pay £1-2 per day for EU roaming - annoying but hardly significant. It might encourage some frequent travellers to move to O2 - but UK coverage and plan costs are likely to be more of an issue. I have nothing against O2 but have found them to be more expensive than Vodafone or Three for my plan - but coverage / speed would be my primary concern.
 

barkingmad

macrumors newbie
Jan 10, 2022
10
5
He's saying if he needs a new SIM card for when he's on a short trip to Europe to avoid the extortionate fees he would have to pay. Yes, the straight forward option is to move to O2 but depending on location the coverage might not be good enough to use everyday.
Think I (and probably most people) would just pay the £1-2 per day EU roaming add-on cost for a short trip? New SIM (and number) is going to cause issues for people calling you etc. Let's just hope the other networks decide to reverse their decision.
 
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