Three reintroduces data roaming charges, despite saying it wouldn't after Brexit

9 September 2021, 20:40 | Updated: 9 September 2021, 20:44

Three has joined Vodafone and EE in reversing its data roaming rules.
Three has joined Vodafone and EE in reversing its data roaming rules. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Three has become the latest mobile operator to reintroduce its EU roaming charges, despite standing firm against changes after Brexit.

The company blamed underlying wholesale costs and disrupted travel due to the pandemic for its reviewed plans, in the latest blow for consumers.

Prior to Brexit, the phone giant had not only allowed free roaming across Europe but also in other countries worldwide, including the US and Australia.

However, it is now introducing a flat £2 daily charge when roaming within an EU country and a £5 daily fee for countries outside of the EU - excluding the Republic of Ireland and Isle of Man.

The rules will apply to customers who are new or upgrading from 1 October, though the changes do not come into effect until 23 May 2022.

Three is the third phone giant to announce that it will be reversing data roaming rules, following EE and Vodafone.

As for O2, it has turned to a fair use roaming limit to avoid bringing back the data roaming fees.

Read more: Vodafone to reintroduce data roaming charges for Europe

A spokeswoman for Three said: "Pay as you go customers and customers who have taken out a contract before 1 October 2021 are unaffected by these changes.

"The new charge ensures that customers are clear on what they will pay when using their phone in another country and only those who roam will pay for the service.

"It will also ensure that we can continue investing in our UK network."

Free roaming first came about in June 2017 when the UK was still in the EU, meaning people could use a reasonable amount of their existing package in other European countries without being stung by a huge bill.

However, Brexit gave the companies the freedom to reimpose charges, with the big four mobile operators saying at the time that they had no plans to do so.