Vodafone and EE have confirmed they will reintroduce roaming charges for customers in the EU, but not quite yet.
With Britain now out of the European Union, network providers are free to scrap the ‘roam like at home’ policy, which allowed customers to continue using their devices across the bloc as they would in the UK – with data, calls and messages coming out of their regular balance or monthly allowance.
O2 has said it will not reintroduce roaming charges, but rivals Vodafone and EE have chosen the opposite path, though have delayed the change whilst final measures have been put in place.
Vodafone had originally planned to reintroduce roaming charges on 6 January, but has since delayed it to the end of the month whilst final tests can be carried out. EE, on the other hand, has put its change back to March, citing unspecified technical delays.
Three has also said it will reintroduce roaming charges, but it had no plans to do so before May of this year.
When the changes kick in, customers heading to EU countries will either pay extra for use of their services, or have the option of a daily flat rate fee to use their regular allowance of data and minutes.
A host of smaller providers have said they don’t plan to re-introduce the charges, though this could all change over the months and years ahead, especially once international travel picks back up to similar levels seen before the pandemic.
Explaining why Vodafone and EE have gone for a cautious roll-out, chief analyst at CCS Insight (and founder of the Mobile Phone Museum) Ben Wood said: “The backlash and negative publicity for any network operator that does not get it right would be immense if a customer ended up with an eye-watering roaming bill.
“My guess is that rather than rushing out a change, the operators are delaying the introduction to be absolutely sure everything is working.”