27 Jun How Will Mobile Roaming Fees Be Affected By Our Vote To Leave The EU?
This is a time of big change for the UK. The votes are in on the EU referendum and Britain has voted to leave. Now that we know the outcome many are feeling unsure of what will happen next.
Some people are already wondering how this change for Britain will affect mobile roaming charges. The issue has already caused some concern because firstly everyone has to deal with roaming charges when we journey abroad and secondly the repercussions on roaming charges were one of the most eloquent arguments from the Remain campaign.
While we cannot be certain of what will happen next, as this is an unprecedented situation that has never arisen for our country before, we can analyse the data we have and remain informed of the possibilities.
What Is Roaming?
Roaming is when you use data, make calls and send texts while away from your home country. It does not include making a call from the UK to another country. That is an international call.
Why Did The Remain Campaign Believe The EU Was Beneficial For Mobile Roaming Fees?
Over the last few years roaming abroad has become quite a bit cheaper for everyone. The Remain campaign puts this down to the effects of the EU and the single market. The philosophy of the EU is a single market in which companies from a variety of countries can trade freely with one another without barriers. The EU sees it as a negative to discourage people from wanting to use their phones abroad due to increased roaming charges.
To eliminate this barrier the costs are reduced or eliminated to allow a more effective single digital market. Of course the costs didn’t go away altogether or all at once. The measures were only past in 2015 and since October 2015 roaming charges within the EU have been falling.
The natural benefit is that people from any country in the EU can travel and create business deals while aboard and this behaviour is desired by the EU. It was estimated that from 15th June 2017 roaming charges within the EU will be eliminated completely.
What Do The Major Networks Say About Our Decision To Leave?
If we consider the above information it is easy to understand why people suspect increased mobile roaming charges but, while this is a distinct possibility, it is important to remember that it is not a certainty.
In the lead up to the vote, all major UK networks were practically mute on the matter. None seemed to want to make a committed comment on the effects leaving the EU would have on their roaming charges for customers.
The only information provided was that it was too early to predict a definitive consequence and all major networks promised to continue offering competitive prices for all those using their mobiles aboard. This doesn’t reveal a great deal of tangible information. However, EE did let slip that our previous EU membership did enable them to offer to lower charges and CEOs of both O2 and BT publicly backed the Remain campaign.
Why Is There So Much Uncertainty?
Uncertainty is often more cause for anxiety than bad news. That sense of not knowing is what really seems to panic us, however, like many issues in the EU debate, in the case of mobile roaming fees it is not a black and white issue. Leaving the EU cannot yet point to what all the direct consequences might be because it is very much dependent on how our exit from the EU is handled.
There are several models for Britain to consider on how it deals with EU countries after our departure, for example a model similar to Norway would mean we retain the idea of the single market. This is not a straightforward solution either, as this model means adhering to many EU laws that the Leave campaign wishes to avoid.
What Can We Expect For Roaming Fees In The Short Term?
It is advisable to prepare ourselves for a rise in roaming fees at least in the short term. While we negotiate and decide our model for leaving the EU there will be nothing to prevent a rise in roaming fees. In the long term Britain may well choose a Norway style model or a more separate model and try to negotiate on matters such as roaming fees.
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We believe it is unlikely the major networks will make a stand in the short term. They will want to keep low profiles while we all wait to see what model the government chooses for our departure.
When networks are under threat of revenues lost this normally means an increase in charges somewhere. This could even mean an increase in roaming charges elsewhere, such as outside of the EU or they could choose to look at other options, such as more aggressively seeking a slice of connectivity and office phone systems revenues.
If you are concerned about increases for mobile roaming charges remember that we are here to help you find the best options on business mobile phone contracts. Contact us to discover the best options for your company.