In a surprise to no one, Vodafone UK is set to re-introduce roaming fees when travelling to the European Union.
The move follows competitor network EE who have also reintroduced roaming charges. The changes will go into effect from January 2022.
Vodafone’s press release is one of the biggest bits of spin on the planet I’ve seen (and trust me -I see plenty most days of the week that pass this blog).
But onto the crux of the matter – the charges.
They will apply to new and upgrading customers, valid from 11th August 2021, with it to go live on 6th January.
The charges are as below – depending on your plan:
Anything that’s outside the Xtra plans will be subject to the following:
- £8 for 8 days
- £15 for 15 days
- £2 for a single day pass
A cap of 25Gb applies. Roaming will remain inclusive in the Republic of Ireland for all customers.
Distilling the Vodafone press release the upcoming changes boils down to one thing – a pull for cash. With Vodafone paying for spectrum to deliver its services along with planned network improvements, it now needs to recover money.
Vodafone UK CEO Ahmed Essam, note that
fewer than half our customers roamed beyond the Republic of Ireland in 2019. And the reality is that including roaming – a service that costs us money to provide – in every plan means more than half of our customers are paying for something that they don’t use.
The UK Networks were compelled by EU law to provision remaining at a very low cost and end the roaming charges in most respect. However, since the UK left the European Union, these companies do no longer have to follow these laws.
Vodafone argues about investment in their network and moans about rising costs – and roaming is an easy way to claw that money back.
Expect the rest to follow
Quite frankly, I’m amazed that it’s taken two of the major carriers to grab this low hanging fruit. I would expect the other majors to follow in time (O2 and Three), as well as the MVNO’s (Virgin, Lebra, Giffgaff, Voxi, Smarty, LycaMobile), to follow right behind them in due course – when money is a little tighter and access fees go up.
What can I do to lower the costs?
If you’re a legacy Vodafone customer, firstly, don’t let go of that tariff they sold you. They will have to honour the terms of the contract you signed.
If you’re disappointed, consider switching networks if it suits your needs. Coverage is important when at home, so ensure areas you live and travel to have reasonable coverage (this is where investing in a Pay-as-you-go Sim card may help to determine the network quality).
The other things to consider are
- Personal Hotspots such as the SkyRoam devices I tested some time ago
- eSim Services (if your phone supports them – Apple has a list at https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT209096
- Pay-As-You-Go local sim cards could be a thing again – remember zero-cost European roaming is still a thing.
Disclosure: I am currently a Vodafone pay-as-you-go customer. Although with this move, not for much longer.
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