What happens to roaming charges after Brexit deal? Do I have to pay to use my phone?

The UK and the EU have arrived at an agreement outlining how operations between the two will work at the end of the transition period. The deal will result in a number of key changes for Britons wanting to travel and live abroad within the EU as of the end of the transition period on December 31.

In June 2017, the EU scrapped additional charges for using your mobile phone abroad when travelling to any of the member states.

Since 2017, Britons have enjoyed being able to use their minutes and data already included on their tariff at home.

Before the rules were introduced, using your UK phone in another EU country could make for an expensive phone bill – with people coming home sometimes finding bills for hundreds or even thousands after taking a trip to the continent.

The UK is still beholden to the bloc’s rules until the end of the transition period on December 31 – but using your phone as you normally would will change from January 1.

Will roaming charges be reintroduced?

The Government released guidance on July 13, 2020, which reads: “From January 1, 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end.”

The Brexit agreement summary says the deal “contains measures to encourage cooperation on the promotion of fair and transparent rates for international mobile roaming”.

This means mobile operators will be able to reintroduce roaming charges for UK customers when they travel to EU countries.

Vodaphone has also said it will not reintroduce roaming charges for customers.

A deal between the UK and the bloc was finally agreed on Christmas Eve after months of fraught negotiations, with several key sticking points meaning deadline after deadline had to be extended throughout 2020.

MPs will vote on the deal in Parliament on 30 December.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, the UK’s chief negotiators Lord David Frost said: “There’s no more role for the European Court of Justice, there’s no direct effects of EU law, there’s no alignment of any kind, and we’re out of the single market and out of the customs union just as the manifesto said we would.

“All choices are in our hands as a country and it’s now up to us to decide how we use them and how we go forward in the future.”

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