Cheers to cheaper roaming!
To use the infamous words of mobile operator Orange, the future’s bright.
Today (15th June 2017) is a significant landmark for the mobile world. The European Commission has come up trumps for mobile users by imposing a minimum two year ban on roaming fees. In reality, this means that holidaymakers and travelling professionals will be able to use their mobiles across Europe, as they would at home, with no additional costs from the mobile operator.
The abolishment of extortionate roaming fees has followed as a result of a decade-long campaign to make phone calls, web browsing and internet access via mobile devices cheaper abroad. After a series of staged roaming price cuts, introduced little by little, today they have finally been abolished all together.
Many mobile users will have already enjoyed cheaper roaming abroad, depending on the mobile operator they use. Vodafone and O2, for example, offer a travel bolt-on for an extra couple of quid, whilst Three will be celebrating the 15th June by adding to their list of 50 destinations where you can already roam for free – even outside of Europe!
Just last summer, newspapers were littered with stories of ‘bill shock’: the devastating news that on returning home, holidaymakers were being stung with mobile bills of hundreds and, in some instances, thousands of pounds.
Until now, shrewd holidaymakers have circumvented the bill shock conundrum with foreign SIM cards, which enable users to take advantage of local country rates. This will now no longer be necessary. However, there are still some grey areas when it comes to roaming, so here are three key tips for topping up your tan as well as your Instagram this summer:
1) Be sure of where you can roam; using your mobile in some countries may still incur charges
Before you jet off, double check with your mobile provider on where you can roam for free and what is included in your existing phone deal. Some non-EU countries such as Norway, Andorra, Switzerland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and Turkey have separate roaming agreements, so you could be charged extra in those regions.
2) Beware the Brexit-shaped elephant in the room
Regardless of whether you voted leave or remain, unfortunately the European Commission’s free roaming deal is only guaranteed for two years. After this time, phone operators will re-assess the situation for British travellers abroad. Watch this space…
3) Away from Wi-Fi? Watch your monthly allowance
If you normally spend your days tethered to Wi-Fi in the UK, make sure you keep a keen eye on your monthly bundle data allowance if you plan to update your Facebook status from the beach. Mobile providers are still able to charge you for going over your data allowance, so watch out!