O2 denies EU data limit signals return of roaming after Brexit

O2 has denied suggestions it plans to take advantage of Brexit by reintroducing roaming charges within the EU after the operator imposed a data limit of 25GB on customers travelling within the bloc.

All roaming fees were abolished across the EU in June 2017 following several years of price cuts, as per European law.

However, roaming was not included in the UK’s withdrawal agreement from the EU, meaning European and British operators are now under no obligation to offer tariff-free use when subscribers use their phone abroad.

EU roaming

There is nothing to stop operators reaching wholesale agreements with counterparts in other countries and, in practice, all four major UK operators have repeatedly stated they had no plans to change their roaming terms following Brexit.

O2 says its unlimited data customers have been subject to a 25GB limit ever since roaming was abolished and is simply applying the same limit across all of its pay monthly customers following a review. Any customer that exceeds this limit while using their phone in an EU country will be charged £3.50 for every GB consumed.

Such fair use policies are actually permitted by EU law in order to prevent any abuse of the regulations that could harm operators. For example, a customer in one EU country might take out a mobile plan in another member state because it is cheaper. Other British mobile operators also have similar price caps in place.

“Less than 1% of our Pay Monthly customers reach anywhere near 25GB during occasional travel to Europe,” an O2 spokesperson told TechRadar Pro. “If a customer’s UK monthly data allowance is over 25GB, from August 2 they will have a Roaming Limit of 25GB in our Europe Zone.

“This means they can use up to 25GB of their allowance at no extra cost – we’ll text them if they get close to the limit, and again if they reach it.  A customer can still use data if they reach our Roaming Limit, but will be charged £3.50/GB.”

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