Last year O2, EE, Three and Vodafone announced that EU roaming charges would be reintroduced, after most of these networks previously stated that the charges would not be returning after Brexit. But now Virgin Mobile and O2 have backtracked and decided not to reintroduce these charges.
Under the plan to reintroduce charges, O2 planned on offering a 25GB fair use limit in the EU. For customers who used more than this they would then be charged £3.50 per GB used. The 25GB roaming fair use limit has always applied to customers on unlimited data plans.
A statement from the company said:
Customers on both O2 and Virgin Mobile will maintain their inclusive roaming in Europe Zones, so they can travel to destinations all over Europe and use their data, calls and texts just as they would in the UK.
Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK, tweeted welcoming the decision to keep roaming free.
Rival network EE (owned by BT) has already introduced changes to roaming for new and upgrading customers who joined or upgraded after the 7th of July 2021. The changes have been active since the start of 2022. EE will be charging customers a flat £2 a day charge to access plan allowances in 47 European destinations and the company will also offer a ‘Roam Further’ pass which is included in some plans. EE also imposes a roaming fair use limit of 50GB which is double the fair use limit of O2.
Three originally had a roaming fair use limit of 20GB but under the new changes it will be reduced down to 12GB. Additionally, customers will be charged £2 per day in Europe to use the ‘Go Roam’ offering and £5 per day outside of Europe.
Vodafone also has a fair use limit abroad of 25GB. For plans that do not already include roaming, customers will be charged £2 per day to use their monthly allowance. However, Vodafone will also offer multi-day passes which will reduce the cost.
Gareth Turpin, Chief Commercial Officer, Mobile, at Virgin Media O2, has said:
“We’re starting the year by giving our customers some certainty: we will not be reintroducing roaming fees in Europe for customers on O2 or Virgin Mobile.
Unlike all the other major mobile networks who are bringing back roaming fees, we will not be following suit. With many Brits now looking to plan a trip abroad, we’ve got our customers covered and extra roaming charges will be one less thing to worry about.”
Last year the £31 billion merger of Virgin Media and O2 was approved, which in turn created a new major rival to BT, which owns the mobile network EE. O2 has over 36 million customers and also provides services to networks such as Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile and Giffgaff. At the time of the merger, it was said O2 would be valued at £12.7bn and Virgin Media at £18.7bn.