Virgin Media O2 will not introduce roaming charges for travellers in Europe this year after other networks announced extra fees will be reintroduced because of Brexit.
Three of the UK’s biggest networks – EE, Vodafone and Three – are set to bring back roaming charges for customers travelling to Europe later this year.
But customers on both O2 and Virgin Mobile deals will be able use their data, calls and texts in the EU as they would in the UK.
Before the UK left the EU, users were able to use their calls, texts, and data allowance in their mobile plans in any EU country.
However, the EU trade deal of December 2020 gave mobile operators the option of reintroducing charges.
Gareth Turpin, chief commercial officer, told the BBC: “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.
“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.”
Vodafone plans to bring back roaming charges at the end of January, while EE is set to in March. Both networks delayed reintroducing the charges earlier due to testing and technical issues respectively. Three is to introduce fees in May.
Customers who joined or upgraded with EE after July 7, 2021, face a £2 daily roaming charge in EU countries, while Vodafone will charge the same fee for people who joined the network after August 11 or upgraded or renewed their contract.
Both companies will offer deals to avoid the fee, with EE customers able to buy a 30-day roaming pass for £10 and Vodafone users able to pay £1 a day for an eight or 15-day pass.
Three will bring in the £2 daily charge for people who joined or upgraded after October 1, 2021.
Sue Davies, head of consumer protection policy at Which?, told the BBC: “As the UK continues to negotiate trade deals, it should take the opportunity to lower the cost of roaming for consumers travelling around the world.
“The UK and EU should also work to strike a deal on roaming charges to stop companies chipping away at the roaming benefits customers have become used to and to ensure the high charges people used to face do not return.”
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