Mobile roaming charges look set to shoot up.
If you’re about to take a holiday anywhere but the UK, you may want to be a tad cautious about when, where, and how you use your phone. Mobile roaming may be about to skyrocket! So if you’re travelling in the EU without the right package, you could lose control of your bill thanks to high fees.
These days, many of us depend on our phones, even when abroad, for everything from sharing pictures, to sending messages home, to looking up our location on Google Maps, to finding out the best restaurants in the area. Needless to say, our mobiles are as much a holiday essential as your sun lotion or sunglasses. Having to pay over the odds for them would be nothing short of a disaster.
Why The Increased Roaming Charges?
So, why might this happen? Well, the reason may surprise you. It has a lot to do with Brexit. You see, back in 2015, the EU created some legislation to protect travellers from the mounting cost of using their phones abroad. It ruled that companies would cut fees so that UK tourists could use their phones abroad at the same rates as they do at home.
At the time, the EU commission said, “consumers will be able to call, send SMS or surf on their mobile at the same price they pay at home,” when travelling in Europe. Seemingly, that could all change soon enough in the post-Brexit shake up.
According to the European Parliament committee, the 2015 ruling may be void as far as we’re concerned. “Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 on roaming will no longer apply with respect to the UK, impacting business and other travellers to and from the UK,” stated the committee. They also went on to say that “transitional arrangements will be necessary.”
But what does that really mean? Well, while right now the European Parliament are saying that you will face higher roaming changes, there is a slight chance it won’t happen. If the UK government can strike a deal with the EU, the fees may stay the same or, at least, not be completely unmanageable.
When Will Roaming Charges Go Up?
Right now, it’s unclear what the future holds for UK phone users, and when changes, if they do, will come into effect. Prime Minister, Theresa May, has stated she’ll trigger Article 50 (that’s the clause that allows Britain to leave the EU) by March 2017. Estimations claim it’ll take Britain about two years to negotiate a comprehensive deal for leaving, taking us all the way to March 2019. So, it may be that the summer of ’19 is the year you leave your phone at home.