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The UK might miss out on reduced EU roaming charges?

Cost of using your mobile abroad to increase by 20% as UK Government adds VAT to roaming charges

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Are you sat at home planning for this year’s summer holiday? Maybe you’ve already booked. Either way, you need to make sure that you’re aware of the upcoming changes in roaming costs abroad…

Following the announcement of the UK’s Spring Budget (and Brexit), we can expect British tourists to get hit hard by increased bill-shock when they use their mobiles abroad. This is all due to the proposed additional VAT for using roaming services outside the EU. This change will result in a cost increase of 20% every time you use a British SIM card abroad. It’ll even apply to UK businesses using remote workers and mobile device management (MDM) services in countries outside the EU.

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Where will the 20% increase in roaming charges apply?

The additional VAT will apply to all roaming services outside of the European Union and will be “in line with international standard practise”, according to Chancellor Phillip Hammond. So, at this current time, the changes in roaming charges don’t apply when roaming in the EU.

That being said, there’s still some uncertainty as to whether we’ll be charged the additional VAT when using our phones in European countries once we leave the EU. The increase in roaming charges could be bad news if this is the case. This is because this announcement in parliament follows the gradual fade-out of European roaming charges altogether; something the UK won’t benefit from post Brexit.

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Roaming outside the EU

As we all know, roaming outside of the EU can be extremely pricey. We’ve all heard horror stories of people being charged thousands of pounds for accidentally using their data abroad; we can expect this extra 20% to make a huge impact on the bill-shock of travelling Brits’ experience.

We’re already scared enough of turning on data roaming, so it does make us wonder how the government expects to generate £65 million per year from this movement. The bill could be so high that we simply stop using our devices abroad all together.

Unfortunately we can’t afford to cease using our UK SIMs abroad; we use our devices all the time for business and leisure, and we can’t always justify purchasing a roaming SIM. For this reason we hope to see the major mobile networks set our minds at ease by introducing new Bolt Ons and perks for those roaming outside the EU (to offset the increased costs).

We already have Bolt Ons such as Vodafone EuroTraveller and O2 Travel to help us reduce expenditure when roaming; so hopefully better offers and pricing will arise as the additional VAT gets implemented. We’re clutching at straws here, but we have our fingers crossed.

If you want more information about the changes in roaming charges, simply get in touch with us today. Give us a call on 0333 313 5000 or send an email to; we’ll be happy to help you out.

Posted in Business mobiles | Tagged in Mobile roaming Mobile tariffs Mobile

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