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What changes to mobile roaming charges are planned in 2022?

The days of free mobile roaming are sadly over, but there are ways to make sure you don’t get stung with a hefty bill. Which? provides the latest updates for travellers in 2022.

By Sue Davies
Published 12 Jan 2022, 06:07 GMT, Updated 18 Jan 2022, 14:07 GMT
Which? has been calling for provisions to be included in these negotiations to put an end ...

Which? has been calling for provisions to be included in these negotiations to put an end to mobile operators chipping away at the roaming benefits customers have become used to and to prevent people from facing excessive charges when travelling.

Photograph by Getty Images

British holidaymakers have benefited from free roaming in the EU since ‘roam like at home’ rules were introduced in 2017. While the UK’s four mobile networks previously told us they had no plans to change their roaming charges after Brexit, they then backtracked.

Come 2022, EE, Three and Vodafone will be reintroducing roaming fees on most of their tariffs, charging £2 a day for those travelling in the EU, with cheaper multi-day passes available. O2 introduced a different policy, where customers are charged £3.50 per GB when they go over the 25GB limit that they implemented for all customers in August. Some of the smaller carriers have said they’ll absorb the new roaming fees imposed by the bigger networks that they borrow their infrastructure from. This could make them a good option for anyone wanting to switch, at least for now.

While travel is currently limited, British holidaymakers can already face exorbitant charges, or see their phone blocked, when roaming with certain network providers in countries outside of the EU. A simple function such as uploading a photo could cost £30. This may not be something that most people plan to do when on holiday, but customers who have adjusted their phone’s settings to automatically back-up photos onto the cloud could be hit unwittingly with these costly charges.

There’s hope that as the UK continues to negotiate trade deals, there’ll be opportunities to lower the cost of roaming for consumers travelling to countries beyond the EU. Which? has been calling for provisions to be included in these negotiations to put an end to mobile operators chipping away at the roaming benefits customers have become used to and to prevent people from facing excessive charges when travelling.

In the meantime, if you’re able to travel, there are things you can do to avoid a nasty surprise when you get home. Turning off mobile data before you arrive is always a good idea. Putting your phone on airplane mode also turns off all wireless connections, including your mobile data. You can then switch it off again when you turn on a wireless connection (for example, wi-fi or Bluetooth). Download documents and media to your phone before you travel, and be mindful of any apps that sync automatically, as this could end up using data in the background.

Which? has free information on how to prepare your mobile phone for holidays abroad. Check it out here

Read more: What you need to know about post-Brexit travel to Europe

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