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Mobile providers prepare for EU ban on roaming charges

Thursday, May 11th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Sky Mobile is to stop charging its customers for roaming within the EU – two weeks before it has to make the change by law.

Sky today announced it will drop roaming fees on 1 June, allowing customers to use their monthly texts, calls and data in 36 European destinations as they would at home.

But from 15 June, such charges will be banned anyway as an EU ruling made in 2015 comes into force.

Since the end of April last year, roaming charges in Europe have been capped at €0.05 per minute for outgoing voice calls, €0.02 for texts and €0.05 per MB of data – but the plan was always to scrap them altogether.

Sky Mobile said the introduction of European roaming, combined with a feature that lets customers store unused data in an online piggybank, would help customers stay in touch when abroad.

Liz Wynn, Sky’s director of mobile, said: “This is great news for Sky Mobile customers planning summer holidays – you can browse and stream in Europe knowing you won’t be hit with any nasty surprises on your bill when you get home.”

Sky Mobile said its customers benefit from low data roaming charges in more than 100 non-EU destinations, including 12p per MB in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

O2 announced earlier this week that its customers would be able to roam for free in Europe from 15 June, although its ‘Europe Zone’ covers 47 countries including some outside the EU – Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Monaco and Switzerland.

EE is also offering free roaming in 47 European countries from 15 June and in the USA, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand if you sign up to a 4GEE Max mobile plan.

'Ahead of our competitors'

Vodafone scrapped European roaming charges last month and Virgin Mobile will be doing the same from 5 June.

Three, which introduced inclusive roaming in 2013 with its ‘Feel at Home’ service, today announced that two more long haul destinations would be added to its list.

From 15 June, Three customers will be able to use their monthly minutes, data and texts in Singapore and Brazil, taking the total number of ‘Feel at Home’ countries to 60.

Three’s CEO Dave Dyson said: “We are committed to unlocking unfair roaming charges for British travellers, not just in the EU but across the world.

“We are doing this proactively for the benefit of our customers and not because regulators are forcing us to do it.

“That’s what sets us apart and this approach means we will always be ahead of our competitors when it comes to fair overseas roaming.”

Three said its global list of destinations now covers 82% of Brits’ total trips abroad and the additions of Singapore and Brazil are in response to “emerging and growing travel trends”.

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