After EE took the plunge back in June, Vodafone is now also reintroducing its roaming fees, leaving O2 and Three still to declare their intentions
Roaming charges are set to return for Vodafone UK customers, said the operator today, following in the footsteps of rival EE, who reintroduced the fees back in June.
Similarly to EE’s approach, existing customers will not be affected by the changes, but new and upgrading customers will be subject to the new roaming policy.
Customers roaming in Europe will have the option of paying £2 per day to use their existing data plan, or £1 per day if purchased as part of a weekly or bi-weekly bundle.
While the terms and conditions surrounding roaming will officially change from the 11th of August, charges will not be applied until the 6th of January 2022.
Roaming charges were abolished in the European Union back in 2017. Brexit, naturally, would mean that all of the UK’s operators were free to reintroduce such fees, though all four of the UK’s largest mobile players said they no plans to reintroduce the fees if the UK were to leave the Union.
But with the operators facing costly network rollouts on a large scale, both in terms of fibre and 5G, additional roaming revenue is simply too good of an opportunity to miss.
Indeed, Vodafone said that the new roaming fees will help it to expand its network rollouts around the country.
Now, with EE and Vodafone having backtracked on their pre-Brexit pledges, all eyes are the remaining two operators, Three and O2, neither of whom has indicated their stance on the matter beyond introducing data fair use limits.
It seems likely, however, that it is just a matter of time before they too follow suit.
“[I] fully expect others to follow suit,” said industry analyst Paolo Pescatore, describing it as “not a question of if but when”. He noted that EE had unfairly taken the brunt of the bad press over their decision, when in fact all of the UK’s major operators are likely to follow suit.
“Timing will be important given the arrival of new devices. You can foresee Three seeking to maintain its existing position for as long as possible to ensure some form of differentiation over rivals,” he added.
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