Saturday 24 August 2019

Relief for Border customers as roaming charges are ruled out


Robert Finnegan: Chief executive of operator Three. Photo: Mark Condren
Robert Finnegan: Chief executive of operator Three. Photo: Mark Condren
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Mobile operators in Ireland say there will be no return to roaming charges for people travelling to the UK after Brexit.

The commitment will come as a relief to travellers between the two jurisdictions, as well as to thousands of people living in Border areas whose phones sometimes automatically switch between Irish and UK networks.

Three's chief executive Robert Finnegan said the network had made a "commitment" both in Ireland and the UK not to return to higher EU roaming rates.

"The roaming experience that [Irish Three customers] have in the UK today will continue after Brexit, whatever shape that takes," he said. This will be regardless of which network a Three customer roams on in the UK, a spokesman added.

Representatives for Vodafone Ireland and Eir also said there would be "no changes" to the current roaming arrangement for their customers.

"We will continue to implement a full 'take your home tariff abroad' policy for mobile customers," said a Vodafone spokeswoman.

The move comes after British mobile operators indicated they do not intend to reintroduce mobile roaming charges after Brexit even if there is no deal.

When the UK leaves the European Union, Irish operators will be legally free to reintroduce roaming charges for customers travelling to the North or to Great Britain.

Similarly, British telecoms operators will be free to leave the EU's roaming regulation requirements altogether.

However, doing so would require a re-opening of tariff negotiations between European operators.

It would also leave operators open to being commercially undercut by their domestic rivals who stick to the status quo.

Since EU roaming charges were abolished in 2017, mobile bills for travellers have plunged.

Irish Independent

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