What does Brexit mean for roaming rates?

The EU has committed to scrap the charges next summer, but what will happen in the UK?

The European Union started to tackle the issue of roaming rates around 2007 and since that time, the charges have been slashed by 80%. They have committed to abolish them entirely next July, which is great news for us. We now know that Britain will leave the EU, so what will this mean for roaming rates come next year?

The establishment of a single market was great for businesses throughout the continent, but as technology evolved and became more important, the need for a digital single market emerged. The EU deemed roaming charges throughout Europe to be a barrier between countries. 

As of July 15th 2017, roaming charges will be no more. This means that from that on date users will be able to use their calls, texts and data abroad - just as they would at home. At the time of this announcement the European Consumer Centre, Ireland said:

"As part of its Connected Continent drive, the EU is working to develop a telecoms single market. Ending roaming charges has been a priority for some time, as it seeks to remove barriers to mobile phone use abroad. It is hoped that not only will this alleviate a burden on consumers, but also provide greater accessibility for businesses and start-ups to sell online to consumers travelling abroad."

What now?

As of this morning, we know that Britain will leave the EU. While it may be some time before exact details of the agreement are ironed out, we can only assume that roaming rates will continue to apply within the United Kingdom. 

None of the major UK networks provided a solid indication of what exactly will happen. Speaking ahead of the result, an O2 spokesperson in the UK said 

“We will continue to offer competitive prices to our customers who use their mobile device when they travel overseas whatever the outcome.” 

Only time will tell what exactly this means for tourists and business people moving through the United Kingdom going forward. If the issue of roaming rates are not addressed, however, it could have ramifications on the appeal of the UK from an Irish business point of view.