Using your phone abroad isn’t as cheap as it used to be, as data roaming has returned after the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Consumer group MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) says telephone operators should be forced to clarify their rules on data roaming in the EU.
The group, led by Martin Lewis, has called on telecoms regulator Ofcom and the government to tighten the rules after a number of post-Brexit consumer protections expired.
In a new report, MSE warned that because a series of regulatory obligations for operators around roaming ended on June 30 this year, businesses will no longer have to text customers with price details when they start roaming; have a monthly limit on data roaming charges; or provide protection against accidental roaming.
Some of the UK’s largest networks have reintroduced data roaming charges in Europe after the UK left the EU.
Mr. Lewis said the mobile operators could not be trusted with self-regulation as some operators had promised not to reintroduce roaming charges after Brexit but had now done so, and called on the government and regulators to intervene.
“I don’t trust self-regulation by mobile companies. When we left the EU, they promised not to reintroduce European roaming charges… but most major networks have broken that promise,” he said.
“So our report calls on Ofcom not to trust voluntary promises – we need to reintroduce formal, mandatory consumer protection.”
MSE’s report also raised concerns about different carriers using different definitions of a ‘day’ of roaming, causing confusion and unexpected costs.
The report states that while some operators define a day as 24 hours from first use, others define it as anything up to 11:59 pm in the UK on the same day, which, according to the consumer group, means that someone who logs in at 11:58 pm will only receive a minute will get data before you have to pay again.
It says this is not explained in arrival texts.
“We should ban a daily roaming fee charged for use ‘until 11:59 pm’, without even stating what time zone,” Lewis said.
Instead, we recommend that all carriers define a roaming ‘day’ as a 24-hour period from first use, clearly explaining that in the arrival text and informing customers at least an hour before the daily charges end. warn.’