As per existing plans, the European Union is set to abolish roaming charges for people using their phones while travelling to any of the 28 member states. The new 'roam like home' system will follow years of cuts in data roaming charges which went down from 70p for every MB of data consumed in 2012 to just €0.05 per MB of internet data consumed in 2016.
Rejoice customers! EU roaming charges on track to be scrapped from June 2017
However, a leaked document coming from the European Union suggests that such rules won't apply to British travellers once Brexit takes effect in 2019. As such, British travellers will need to cough up roaming charges for making calls, sending texts or consuming internet data unlike their European cousins. Applicable rates for British travellers could be €0.05 per minute of calling, €0.02 per text and €0.05 per MB of internet data consumed, unless the EU and the British government agree to a fresh arrangement.
The European Parliament's committee on industry, research and energy released a new draft document earlier this month for review by MEPs. The document stated that “regulation (EU) No 531/2012 on roaming will no longer apply with respect to the UK, impacting business and other travellers to and from the UK.”
The leak throws a spanner in the works just when people were about to celebrate the complete abolition on roaming charges in Europe. Last week, a deal between network operators to use each others' networks for roaming services was provisionally approved by the European Parliament and was to be confirmed by the full European Parliament and EU member states for roaming charges to be abolished. Even if the European Parliament formally approves it, British citizens won't be able to profit from it because of Britain's impending exit from Europe in a couple of years from now.
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“It is important to recall that, given the short time available for their preparation and the fact that the UK position is still unknown, [the analysis] can only constitute a very first assessment of the situation," said Jerzy Buzek, a Polish MEP, who is also the chair of the European Parliament's committee on industry, research and energy.
“It is therefore essential that the parliamentary committees be closely involved in following the negotiations and in the consent procedure as well as in discussions on any transitional arrangements and the future relationship, so that parliament can benefit from the substantive knowledge held in the committees,” he added.