Vodafone UK became the latest operator in the country to reintroduce roaming fees for users travelling in Europe, following rival EE, with new and upgrading customers on the hook for extra charges from 2022.

In a blog, Vodafone UK CEO Ahmed Essam explained it was adopting a new approach to roaming across its Europe Zone, with subscribers facing at least a £1 daily charge.

Terms and conditions on roaming will change from 11 August, although the charges will not be applied until 6 January 2022. Affected customers have the option of paying £2 a day to use their tariffs in Europe, or £1 per day if bought as part of weekly or fortnightly bundles.

Its fair use policy of 25GB of roaming data per month will also apply.

Existing customers will not be affected while they remain on their current price plan, added Essam. Roaming will also remain inclusive in the Republic of Ireland for all customers.

Harsh realities
Vodafone becomes the second UK operator after EE to backtrack on a pledge made in January not to reintroduce roaming fees in Europe following the country’s exit from the European Union.

EE stated in June it would charge new or upgrading customers £2 to use their tariff allowances in 47 EU destinations, also from January 2022.

Essam said Vodafone changed “the way we offering roaming” to enable it to continue to invest in its networks, pointing to openRAN, its shared rural initiative, 5G standalone fibre broadband and its converged offerings.

Tech, media and telco analyst at PP Foresight Paolo Pescatore believes the “harsh realities of Brexit are becoming more evident” and it was the “gift that keeps on taking”.

“Wholesale roaming rates will change given the UK’s exit and this in turn will inevitably drive higher prices without EU protection. It’s a pretty easy decision for UK telcos,” he added.

O2 UK and 3 UK have yet to reintroduce roaming fees, beyond data fair use limits.