1. Business
May 9, 2017

Mobile phone operators move to drop Europe roaming fees

Telecoms giant O2 today announced that from 15 June, pay monthly and business customers will no longer be charged extra for using their phones in 47 European countries.

Fees will also be waived in some non-EU countries including Iceland, Switzerland and Monaco.

The move coincides with the European Commission policy to abolish EU roaming charges starting from exactly the same date — 15 June.

Kester Mann, a telecoms analyst at CCS Insight said it will be very hard for telecoms companies to reintroduce roaming fees once the UK has formally left the EU in two years.

“I think it [roaming charhes] would go down very, very badly with customers – it would be a very bold and perhaps foolhardy option,” he told the BBC.

“It would be very difficult for them to do that just because the UK is such a competitive market and we’ve moved such a long way from roaming.”

Other mobile phone networks have made similar promises. Last week, EE announced new packages which include free roaming in countries such as the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

“Ten years after the European Commission first stepped in to regulate the price of roaming within the EU, consumers will soon see all roaming surcharges disappear when, from 15 June 2017, they will be able to use their phone just like they do at home. As that date draws closer, a number of operators are communicating the good news and sweetening the deal further by extending the number of countries covered,” Matthew Howett, an independent telecoms analyst told Verdict.

However, he agrees that from 2019 onwards, operators will be in a difficult position.

“It will be hard for operators to step back from the pro-consumer stance they have taken,” he added.

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