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Minister admits Brits face European Union mobile roaming charges in no-deal Brexit

09 February 2019

So far, only one operator in the United Kingdom has committed to ensuring that data roaming reamins free of charge after Brexit, Three.

Backing up earlier reports, HuffPost has spied a draft 'statutory instrument' which confirms that current legislation that allows for free data roaming, first introduced in June 2017, will be scrapped if the United Kingdom crashes out of Europe without a deal.

But "after careful consideration, the government decided not to adopt this proposal", it states.

Britons travelling in Europe could face a return to mobile roaming charges in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to Government documents.

The Huffinton Post broke the news on Wednesday, revealing that the current legislation introduced in 2017 could potentially continue until 2020 if the European Union and the United Kingdom government manage to strike a deal before March 29.

Mobile operators in the United Kingdom say that any increased costs of offering data roaming services overseas after Brexit will have to be passed onto consumers.

"A limit on the costs that could be passed on to customers would affect the sustainability of certain roaming services".

In a draft statutory instrument, tabled by the government as part of a raft of no-deal preparations, the government has pledged to remove restrictions on mobile operators that force them to provide for free roaming throughout Europe.

Minister admits Brits face European Union mobile roaming charges in no-deal Brexit
Minister admits Brits face European Union mobile roaming charges in no-deal Brexit

The DCMS is apparently hoping that some mobile phone firms will voluntarily continue to offer free data roaming, but last week, MoneySavingExpert revealed that just two out of 12 major operators - Three and Smarty, which is owned by Three - had committed to keeping roaming free after Brexit.

Watson demanded "binding commitments" from telephone giants to protect consumers, but said the fault lay at the door of Theresa May's government.

KitGuru Says: There is no immediate threat given that 85% of United Kingdom carriers have gone on record to state that there are no plans to reintroduce charges, but the possibility can not be ruled out.

The prime minister said past year: "The UK will not be part of the EU's Digital Single Market, which will continue to develop after our withdrawal from the European Union".

Mr Watson said in the House of Commons: "He said that mobile phone operators have said they have no plans to raise roaming charges - but he and I both know, and more importantly voters know, what that phrase really means".

Mr Wright earlier said the Government intends to ensure the requirements on mobile operators to apply a financial limit on data usage while overseas is retained in United Kingdom law, and would be set at £45 for each monthly billing period - the same as the existing limit.

Jack Webster, mobile expert from www.comparemymobile, said: "Roaming charges have been a lucrative money maker for networks in the past, capitalising on consumers' reliance on being constantly connected to do anything from work remotely to using maps and uploading their holiday boating".

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Minister admits Brits face European Union mobile roaming charges in no-deal Brexit