Minister claims EU rebuffed UK proposals to maintain mutual free roaming

Written by Sam Trendall on 8 July 2021 in News
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UK proposed ‘continuation of reciprocal agreements’ – which the EU did not agree to, according to Matt Warman

Credit: Piqsels

During Brexit trade negotiations the UK proposed reciprocal free data roaming for mobile users – but the EU rebuffed the suggestion, according to digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman.

In talks concerning the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK also put forward an alternative proposal to try and maintain cost-free roaming for travellers: an agreed review process, in the event that additional charges were levied on consumers following the completion of the Brexit process.

This suggestion was also refused by the EU, Warman said.


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Now that the UK is no longer covered by the EU-wide Roman Like at Home agreement that has been in place since 2017, citizens may find they are face extra charges for use of mobile services when they are in an EU country – if their network operator decides to impose them.

“Since the end of the transition period the UK is no longer part of Roam Like at Home so surcharge-free roaming for UK consumers in the EU is no longer guaranteed,” Warman said. “During negotiations for the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, the UK proposed continuation of reciprocal agreements between the UK and EU for surcharge free roaming, or a review clause to consider the need for these should roaming surcharges return for consumers. The EU did not agree to either of these proposals. Therefore, mobile operators are now able to impose a surcharge on UK consumers travelling abroad to the EU for their mobile phone usage. We advise that consumers check with their operators before travelling.”

The minister’s comments were made in response to a written parliamentary question from Scottish National Party MP Patrick Grady.

Roam Like at Home is due to expire in 2022, but the European Commission has already proposed that the agreement should be extended for a further 10 years.

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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