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EE Offers Inclusive Roaming Across EU, USA, Canada & Australia

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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EE, like every other operator in the EU, will abolish charges across Europe and will offer inclusive roaming for North America, Australia and New Zealand

EE says all of its customers will be able to use their call, text and data allowances across Europe without additional charge from 15 June, which is just as well since the European Union (EU) is abolishing roaming charges on the same date.

The EU has worked for several years to reduce the cost of using a mobile phone abroad across the 28-strong bloc and the European Parliament voted to approve the legislation in April.

The BT-owned operator claims to be offering inclusive roaming in 47 territories, which includes all EU member states, microstates like the Vatican City and Monaco, foreign territories like Martinique, and crown dependencies like the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.

EE Robin

EE EU roaming

It also includes countries that have trading agreements with EU such as Switzerland and Norway.

EE will also offer ‘4GEE Max’ plans which include inclusive roaming in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand as well as the aforementioned 47 territories. EE says the total of 52 is more than any other operator and covers 80 percent of customer’s use.

“Our customers want to be able to stay connected whether they’re travelling around the UK or abroad,” said EE CEO Marc Allera.

“We go further to provide our customers with 4G in more places across the UK than any other operator, and we’re offering inclusive roaming in more destinations as well – so our customers can stay in touch whether they’re lying on a beach in the Mediterranean, checking out the latest restaurants in New York, or hiking in New Zealand.”

EE isn’t the only operator to masquerade the EU legislation as a new offer. Vodafone did the same last month across the EU, EEA and in Turkey which is not a member of the EU but Vodafone has a network there.

Three has offered inclusive roaming (although not to local numbers) in several European countries and other nations like Hong Kong, the USA and Australia where its parent Hutchison has networks or it has reached an agreement with another operator.

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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