While the news that mobile roaming charges ending across the EU is a positive development, there are warnings to consumers. The warnings come in the form of unexpected costs and tariffs which could be charged to the customers. The abolishment of charges will happen from Thursday. This would mean that mobile phone users in UK can use their data, texts and calls across the entire EU as per the plan which they have signed up for.
What Is The Objective
Called as the Roam Like Home legislation, the plan has been started to prevent customers from receiving massive bills when they are downloading data of various types while they are moving in various parts of Europe. However, different service providers have different tariffs and plans. This could lead to unexpected costs to the customers. Around nine million mobile phone users in UK were in for a bill shock soon after they came from a holiday in the EU. This was based on research done by uSwitch a comparison website. It talked about the vulnerability of customers especially after the smart phone market exploded and the mobile data consumption went up quite significantly.
How It Will Impact UK Consumers
According to some research done by some Digital Marketing Agency professionals, consumers from UK are likely to benefit from this agreement, as long as the country remains a member of the EU. However, it is not clear whether they will continue to get this benefit when Brexit actually becomes a reality. However, according to the CEO of Vodafone, Vittorio Colao, Britons may not face a steep exit even after they exit Brexit. Vodafone is the largest mobile operator in Europe. According to him Switzerland which is not part of the EU gets this preference. Hence, why UK should also not be treated the same way? However, customers must be aware that even though UK is still a part of EU, these regulations apply only to roaming customers. It is not applicable for calling EU countries from the United Kingdom. This could lead to significant price variations.
It has been found that calling Spain from the United Kingdom could come with a cost of 9p as far as service provider Giffgaff is concerned. It could go up to 1.50 when it is done from the service provider O2. When the agreed call minutes, data and text are exceeded it will continue to be charged in the European Union. It will be the same as that in the UK. Different providers will charge different rates. This includes different countries and their roaming territories. Hence the charges will vary based on the plans customers choose. It include pay as you go plan, monthly plans and so on. When you choose O2 pay as you go plan, you will continue to be charged for roaming when you are in Channel Island, Monaco, Isle of Man, and Switzerland. However, O2 customers who opt for monthly plan will not be required to pay.
What About Turkey
It would also be pertinent to find out if Turkey is included in the ban. Only Vodafone has included this non-EU tourist destination in its roaming bundle, while others charge anything ranging from 69p to 1.65p a minute when it comes to calling home.
This is what Alex Neil, Managing Director of Home Product and Services had to say. “There will be many who will enjoy the benefits of the changes. They no longer will be unhappy making calls abroad. But it is always better to look at the plan you are choosing. Being unaware of this could bring in some unpleasant surprises in the next bill.
European Commissioner Gunter Oettinger believes that this agreement has the capacity to make EU come out with tangible results. This could go a long way in improving the overall life of Europeans. He believes that roaming charges might soon be a thing of the past.