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Virgin Media O2 won't reintroduce roaming fees in Europe

O2 and Virgin Mobile users will be exempt from paying the £2 daily fee that's being brought back by EE, Three and Vodafone

Virgin Media O2 has confirmed that it will not be reintroducing roaming charges for customers travelling in Europe.

This means that O2 and Virgin Mobile users will be exempt from paying the £2 daily fee that is being brought back by other UK mobile operators, including EE, Three, and Vodafone.

The move has been confirmed as "certain" in a blog post by the company’s chief commercial officer of Mobile, Gareth Turpin, who stated that Virgin Media O2 “will not be following suit” in reintroducing roaming fees in Europe. Roaming fees were previously scrapped in 2017, but the Brexit agreement signed by the UK government and its European counterparts no longer protects UK citizens from paying roaming charges.

“Across both O2 and Virgin Mobile we’re maintaining our inclusive roaming so that our customers can travel to destinations all over Europe and use their data, calls and texts just as they would in the UK,” he added.

This makes Virgin Media O2, which last year had a market share of 25%, the only major mobile operator that will allow customers to return from abroad without additional fees to pay, which Turpin described as a “hefty cost”.

“To put this into perspective, a family of four using their phones every day on a two-week holiday could face around £100 or more of roaming charges added to their holiday bill if they aren’t with O2 or Virgin Mobile,” he said. Business travellers would also be at risk, with the expectation that they would be answering phone calls and emails while abroad. 

The decision was made following a study conducted by the company which found that 75% of Brits were planning to go abroad by summer 2022, as the government once again relaxed COVID-19 testing restrictions for international travel.

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The news comes days after Vodafone and EE delayed the return of roaming charges to late January and early March, respectively, due to a need for further testing and “technical delays”. Three customers can expect the post-Brexit roaming charges to return on 23 May 2022.

The company had previously said it wanted to retain EU roaming at no extra cost, but that this was no longer possible under current conditions.

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