Brexit could still effect EU roaming plans, says industry figure

Thomas Wellburn
July 1, 2016

A spokesperson for affiliate comparison site Broadband Genie has stated that the current EU roaming plans may not last forever, with the reversion to older packages very possible.

The day after Brexit, we ran a pretty deep story outlining how it could effect consumers. The overall tone was pretty positive, with mobile networks claiming they would continue their EU roaming plans and analysts predicting that reversing the roaming plans would be too detrimental for business.

Today, we spoke to Rob Hilborn of Broadband Genie, who is a little less optimistic about the whole Brexit scenario. Broadband Genie is an affiliate comparison site that deals with both home and mobile broadband; they recently conducted some research into EU consumer roaming trends showing that 58% of consumers don’t believe the Brexit will effect their roaming plans. Perhaps more startling is the fact that 42% of customers don’t bother to check roaming costs, showing a clear disconnect between consumers and the charges they could be unwittingly buying into.

Frank thoughts on EU roaming plans

His thoughts on the subject were pretty frank, arguing that without European roaming legislation, mobile networks are under no obligation to offer these packages once the EU secession is complete: “We are optimistic that costs will not rise to the level of roaming outside the EU, where it can be as much as £6/MB, however it is doubtful that UK travelers will enjoy completely free roaming.

Roaming fees within Europe were due to be eliminated in 2017, but with the UK leaving the EU it’s now unknown if this will apply to UK citizens.”

This statement includes packages such as Tesco Mobile’s ‘Home from Home’, who recently went on record to say they would not be changing the EU roaming plans. When we asked Hilborn for his thought’s on this, he argued that the solution may only be short-term and that Tesco could very well reverse their decision in a few years time if it doesn’t look profitable.

He did state however that packages such as Three’s ‘Feel At Home’ may not be effected quite so much by the Brexit, since these have been achieved by various deals with international roaming partners as opposed to directly with the EU.

Ushering what we said in the last piece, nothing will change until article 50 is invoked by the UK government. This means your plan is unlikely to be effected in the near future. That said, when the time comes for negotiation, there definitely need to be a discussion about roaming plans With 73% of consumers thinking that EU roaming needs to be on the negotiation table, it’s obviously of major public interest that we try to protect these deals.

For more news, visit What Mobile’s dedicated news page.

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