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Ofcom wants roaming fees alert because Brexit ruined free use abroad

Remember when you could travel pretty freely and use your mobile phone without worrying about exhorbitant roaming fees? Great wasn’t it.

Well, the Brexit deal with the EU didn’t retain the EU’s ban on roaming fees and so Brits lost that freedom to roam – in more ways than one.

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Now, the government’s regulator Ofcom is riding in on a mighty steed. Not to call for that crumb of comfort to be opened up to well-travelled Brits again. Oh no!

In a press release, Ofcom says it wants to make sure mobile operators send users a text to warn them they’re going to be charged for roaming. Whoop-de-doo!

The proposal from Ofcom would protect UK travellers from unexpected charges and ‘inadvertent roaming’. According to the regulator, 19% of Brits don’t know they’re going to be charged for using their phone abroad.

Because 94% of people read the texts telling them they’re going to be charged, and 72% change their usage habits when they see them (like being more conscious of connecting to Wi-Fi), Ofcom says the making those texts the rule could have a big effect.

Under the proposals, Ofcom would make sure users get personalised alerts including:

  • Roaming charges that will apply including specifying any fair use data limits and the time period that applies to any daily charges.
  • Any mobile bill limit the customer has in place.
  • Where to find free-to-access additional detail on roaming charges, fair use policies and how to monitor, reduce and limit spend.

Three, Vodafone and EE started charging roaming fees again last year following the Brexit deal, but O2 gives users a bit of grace with up to 25GB of data available (depending on their plan) to users per month, when they’re travelling in the EU.

According to the watchdog USwitch (via BBC) the unexpected roaming fees cost Brits £539m in the last year. Those Brexit benefits are quite something aren’t they?

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