British travelers rage as Vodafone reintroduces data roaming charges in the EU

British travelers in the EU were disappointed today as another mobile phone company reintroduced roaming charges.

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Mobile phone operator Vodafone said it would reintroduce European roaming fees for new and upgrading British customers in January 2022, following the lead set by rival EE.

Roaming charges were completely abolished in the European Union in 2017, saving holidaymakers and business travellers millions of pounds a year in total additional fees for using their smartphones outside Britain.

But fee-free roaming was not protected in the Brexit agreement Britain signed with the EU.

Vodafone’s UK Chief Executive Ahmed Essam said the majority of its customers were not regular roamers – fewer than half roamed beyond Ireland in 2019 – and they were paying for something they didn’t use.

“So we think it’s fairer to give people more choice over what they pay for, either opting into a price plan that includes free-roaming or paying for roaming only when they roam,” he said.

Eight and 15 day passes would be available at 1 pound per day, Vodafone said, adding that roaming would remain inclusive in the Republic of Ireland for all customers.

From 11 August, all new and upgrading Vodafone customers will face roaming charges in the EU from January.

“Existing customers will not be impacted by these changes while they remain on their current price plan,” said a spokesperson for Vodafone.

Eight and 15-day passes would be available at £1 (€1.20) per day, Vodafone said, adding that roaming would remain inclusive in the Republic of Ireland for all customers.