If the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal on March 29th 2019, UK holidaymakers and business travellers alike could return from the continent to a very unwelcome data roaming bill if they continue to enjoy their available data allowances from their UK contracts.
Since 2017, UK consumers have been able to use their data allowances when travelling across Europe without incurring data roaming charges, stories of bills into the hundreds of pounds were widespread for those using social media and browsing to consume large amounts of data. The new EU law was welcomed by consumers, however that could all change if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Sharing those photos by the pool could about to become a whole lot more expensive.
Even in the event of a deal being struck in the next 6 weeks, that will only legally extend the current free data roaming arrangement with the EU until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, leaving UK consumers at the mercy of mobile providers to decide to whether to reintroduce and what costs they can apply for those wanting or needing to consume data whilst travelling in the EU.
Statistics suggest that mobile data usage is set to quadruple over the next 4 years* which is likely music to UK mobile companies ears as the possibility of a return of data roaming charges could boost profits, although competition in this space is set to be strong which should give consumers some hope of keeping bills under control.
Whilst the EU law that prohibiting such charges from 2017 will no longer be applicable, as of February 2019, the UK’s 3 biggest mobile providers; Vodafone, EE and O2 have publicly stated that they currently have no plans to reintroduce roaming charges in a no-deal Brexit scenario, however should they change their minds, there would be no EU law to protect UK consumers. Our advice is to check with your network provider before you travel to ensure you don’t return home to an unexpected bill.
Mobile Data Roaming and Google Maps – Sat-Nav
This news will of course be a concern to those who use Google maps when renting a car
(or other web-based GPS / mapping services) to navigate around Europe. Until now, it has been a great option to save on sat-nav rental fees that can cost over 10 EUR per day when renting in France
or anywhere else in Europe. An opportunity for the car rental agencies to boost their add-on sales revenues, remember all optional extras are charged directly by the rental agents on arrival and not by Rhino, so if you need to rent a sat-nav, it's always worth checking the cost to get a total rental cost comparison when picking the best deal for you.
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*Statista.com – Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast