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Three Ends Roaming Charges For Brazil & Singapore Alongside EU

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Three mocks other operators, pointing out it had offered inclusive roaming in Europe and abroad long before the EU told it to

Three will abolish roaming charges in Brazil and Singapore from 15 June – the same date as the end of roaming within the EU – bringing the total number of territories in its ‘Feel at Home’ offer to 60.

Feel at Home first started in 2013, allowing Three customers to use their allowances at no extra cost in several countries in Europe and beyond; including Australia and the US. With the addition of the new countries, Three says 82 percent of customer journeys are now covered.

Its three main competitors, EE, Vodafone and O2, have all said they will comply with the EU legislation from 15 June, but Three is keen to point out it has been working on eliminating roaming costs for several years and not just because of regulatory changes.

Three Store

Three roaming

“We are doing this proactively for the benefit of our customers and not because regulators are forcing us to do it,” said Three CEO Dave Dyson. That’s what sets us apart and this approach means we will always be ahead of our competitors when it comes to fair overseas roaming. 

“I am proud that our customers can now use their phones as if they were in the UK in more than 80 percent of the destinations they travel to.  Our ambition is greater and we are moving quickly towards a goal of 100 percent of overseas travel, so our customers can stay connected and enjoy the freedom of using their phones whilst they’re abroad.”

The EU has worked for several years to reduce the cost of using a mobile phone abroad across the 28-strong bloc (and countries like Norway which have trading agreements with the EU) and the European Parliament voted to approve the legislation in April.

It remains unclear whether the rules will apply to the UK after Brexit.

The regulations have been opposed by the mobile industry, which fears a loss in revenue. 

It is estimated that roaming revenues within the EU could fall by 28 percent from 2017, but Juniper Research says income will recover in the medium term once people start to become more comfortable using their phone abroad.

Other studies suggest fear of bill shock means many travellers turn roaming off and use Wi-Fi or even switch their phone off entirely when abroad, meaning no revenue is generated for operators.

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