Mobile phone operators EE and Vodafone delay EU roaming charges


UK mobile phone operators Vodafone and EE have delayed the reintroduction of roaming charges for customers travelling to the European Union (EU), which were originally scheduled to be imposed early this month.

In statements, Vodafone blamed the requirement for further testing for shifting its activation date, while EE cited technical issues. Vodafone now plans to begin charging for roaming within the EU at the end of the month, with EE setting a new date of 3 March.

Under plans revealed in August 2021, Vodafone intended to impose an additional levy of at least £1 per day on customers roaming in the EU from today (6 January). It noted the extra time would allow for “further testing to ensure the best possible experience for customers”.

EE announced the introduction of a £2 daily charge for using tariff allowances across the EU in June 2021, with the change meant to be effective this month. It provided limited detail on its postponement beyond citing technical delays. The operator’s fee does not apply to pay monthly customers with a plan starting before 7 July 2021.

Before the UK left the EU, users were able to use their calls, texts, and data allowance in their mobile plans in any EU country. But the EU trade deal of December 2020 gave mobile operators the option of reintroducing charges.

The Three network has also said it will bring in roaming charges between the UK and Europe, though their change is planned for May 2022. That means that of the largest mobile networks, only O2 has not announced any plans for the reintroduction of roaming fees.

Explaining the reason for delaying its planned changes, Vodafone said it was not ready to bring in the new system.

“We have pushed back the introduction of roaming charges to the end of January, giving time for further testing to ensure the best possible experience for customers purchasing our £1 per day bundles. Until then, customers will continue to be able to roam without charges.” EE said the shift in its plans was caused by unspecified technical delays.

Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at, comments: 

“When the first mobile operators announced they were reintroducing roaming charges, their rivals were quick to follow suit. Now that one has postponed bringing them back, it’s happening in reverse.

“Roaming charges are deeply unpopular with mobile users, who rightly feel aggrieved by a return to charges to access minutes and data they have already paid for.

“Rather than delaying these charges, many consumers would like to see mobile operators scrap them entirely.

“If you’re going on holiday, or travelling abroad for a longer time, you can save money by paying for multi-day passes with Vodafone, or Roam Abroad with EE.

“Existing customers of EE, Vodafone or Three, should check their contract to see whether these new charges apply to them. If you signed up before the specific dates, you should be safe. 

Adds Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight and founder of the Mobile Phone Museum:

“Making big changes to billing systems in mobile phone networks is always risky,” 

“The backlash and negative publicity for any network operator that does not get it right would be immense if a customer ended up with an eye-watering roaming bill.

“My guess is that rather than rushing out a change, the operators are delaying the introduction to be absolutely sure everything is working.

“Given the current Covid situation it’s not like lots of people are travelling, so the operators are not going to be massively exposed on unexpected roaming costs.”

Table: Roaming charges by provider:



Comes into effect

Applies to customers who joined / upgraded after

Daily charge



End of January 2022

11th August 2021 

£2 a day

£1 a day for 8-day or 15-day multipass [1]


3rd March 2022

7th July 2021

£2 a day

Users who pay £10 a month for Roam Abroad don’t pay daily fee[2]


23rd May 2022

1st October 2021

£2 a day

None available


Chris Price
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