EE will resurrect EU roaming charges from January next year. For those who had forgotten, these dreaded charges kicked-in whenever you visited a foreign country and used your mobile data to send WhatsApp messages, make video calls, check Google Maps, post to Facebook, and more. To avoid the extra charges, many would immediately disable mobile data as soon as their plane landed – jumping between the free Wi-Fi networks to periodically check-in.
Roaming charges when travelling between European countries was abolished by the European Commission in 2017. Unfortunately, the ability to use your call, text message and mobile data allowance for free when travelling around Europe was missing from Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. And so, mobile networks are now able to reintroduce the dreaded extra costs. And that’s exactly what EE has done.
EE confirmed this week that, starting from January 2022, some customers will be forced to pay £2 a day to be able to use their 4G or 5G data, calls and texts when in Europe. That means a fortnight stay in Spain could cost an extra £28 for every member of your party. Yikes.
Thankfully, there is a bit of a workaround to avoid the costs.
EE’s resurrected EU roaming costs will only hit those who join EE after July 7, 2021. If you’re an existing customer and sign-up to a new contract or SIM-only deal after that deadline, you’re seen as a new customer – so you’ll also have to deal with extra cost.
So, if you’re already with the company and stick with your current plan – you can head away without fear of being charged a penny extra. But as soon as you decide to upgrade to a new smartphone, sign-up to a new SIM-only deal to get better terms …you’re going to have the EU roaming charges again.
If you’re already at the end of your contract and want to take advantage of some of the great SIM-only deals from EE at the moment, or maybe upgrade to a newer smartphone, you’d better act fast. Getting everything signed, sealed and delivered before July 7, 2021 means you can get the best of both worlds – a new contract with better perks or a shiny new smartphone, while still keeping that sweet, sweet free EU roaming.
It’s worth nothing that EE hasn’t made clear whether customers on existing contracts will be able to benefit from free roaming indefinitely. However, if you have a trip penciled in for early 2022 and don’t want to pay extra for data, existing customers will definitely benefit from free EU roaming when the scheme first kicks-in.
Of course, it’s also possible to avoid EE’s EU roaming costs by switching networks too.
Three, O2, and Vodafone all offer customers a free allowance when travelling. If you reach this cap, there can be extra charges. However, these allowances are pretty generous – the lowest is 12GB – so it’s perfectly possible to spend a week abroad streaming music, checking Google Maps, sending texts in WhatsApp or iMessage, and not getting anywhere close to the limit.