Data Roaming Fees Are Back In The UK [Jan 2022]

Another post-Brexit change is the removal of the requirement to comply with the European Parliament “Roam like at home” policy which has been in place since 2017. This mandated that European consumers could call and use their mobile data for the same price as in their home country when they go to another destination within the EU. Now data roaming fees are back.

Data Roaming Fees Are Back In The UK

Vodafone, EE and Three have recently announced their decision to reinstate roaming fees for their consumers traveling within Europe. Customers on their newest mobile plans will have to pay £2 a day to use their monthly allowance in the EU (call, SMS, data), with the possibility to activate roaming passes to reduce these charges.

Some premium tariffs waive this charge, but the majority of customers will need to incur this daily fee to use their data/call allowance abroad.

This will also apply to MVNO’s that use the above networks as their backbone, e.g. Smarty or IDMobile which uses Three as it’s network.

These charges can be reduced with the purchase of a data pass that adds roaming on for a lower fee of typically £1 per day, but this must be purchased in advance of leaving the UK so can be easily forgotten.

What about O2 Roaming Charges?

The notable omission from the list above is O2. O2, owned by Telefonica, and Virgin Mobile who they recently merged with have confirmed they will not charging their consumers for EU roaming.

It has chosen instead to impose a “fair use” charge if customers use more than their data allowance to a maximum of 25GB, charging £3.5 per GB when the allowance is exceeded.

MVNO’s under O2 such as GiffGaff should also pass this benefit on to their customers.

Other Options

For frequent travellers, you might be better buying a dedicated roaming contract. Suppliers such as Ubigi have setup e-SIM tariffs for European countries that are cheaper to use than paying the roaming fees, particularly on longer stays greater than a week.

An e-SIM is a feature built into recent models of many smartphones and tablets allowing you to activate a mobile data plan instantly on supported carriers, without having to buy a physical SIM card.


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