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O2 Will Comply With EU Law And Abolish European Roaming

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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O2 confirms plans to let customers use their phones abroad at no extra cost across Europe, falling in line with EU roaming legislation from June 15

O2 has become the latest operator to confirm it will comply with European law and abolish roaming charges within the EU from 15 June.

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.

Pay monthly customers will be able to use their call, text and data allowances in non-EU or EEA territories like Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Monaco and Switzerland but pay as you go users will not unless they purchase a bolt-on.

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O2 European roaming

O2 isn’t the only mobile operator to masquerade the EU legislation as a new offer (It’s also holding a competition). EE did the same earlier this week, along with the promise of inclusive roaming in North America and Australasia on some plans, while Vodafone did so last month.

Vodafone is also offering inclusive roaming in Turkey, which is not a member of the EU but the operator 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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