Vodafone UK to reintroduce European roaming for heavy users

Vodafone has become the first UK network to confirm it will be reintroducing roaming charges between Britain and mainland Europe, though only for the most frequent users. Under European Union rules, networks must offer roaming, at no extra charge across all member countries. With the UK’s transition membership of the EU due to expire on 31st December, there has been speculation as to whether networks would automatically revoke the service.

All four UK operators BT/EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three, and many MVNOs have pledged that they have no plans to bring back roaming charges, but today has seen multiple reports on Twitter of a text message being sent to heavy users of the service. It confirms that from 18th January 2021, customers who use their device for more than 60 days in a four-month period (in other words, they are roaming more than they are at home) will face roaming charges.

The news will come as a huge blow for the 1.3 million British ex-pats spread across the EU, who, up to now, have been able to keep an active UK number. Whilst pay-as-you-go handsets will be minimally impacted, it will make it a lot more difficult for overseas users to justify maintaining a contract. Also heavily impacted will be business travellers, for whom regular ‘hops’ across the channel for meetings have become part of British working life. While Vodafone’s announcement continues to honor its commitment not to reintroduce roaming, it’s a further signal of the changing relationship that Britain will have with Europe from next year, further emphasised by the UK-founded company’s recent decision to hold an IPO for its towers division in Germany.

It’s also worth noting that the European Union’s rules on roaming only require voice, SMS and a minimum 3G connection. With many carriers opting, therefore, to restrict access for 4G to roaming customers already, the news does not bode well for the chances of being able to access 5G services overseas, any time soon.

The post Vodafone UK to reintroduce European roaming for heavy users appeared first on xda-developers.

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