Although the Chancellor justified his action by stating that the move was ‘in line with international standard practice’ (For this read, ‘other countries are doing it so I thought, why not us?’) it does move us in the opposite direction to the rest of Europe where the European Union is planning to phase out mobile phone roaming charges altogether for countries within the bloc.
Or perhaps the Chancellor is preparing us for life outside the EU, as the UK may not benefit from this measure once it comes into effect and once we have left.
All tax hikes arouse anger and indignation and this one was no exception. Several national newspapers picked up on the story with headlines screaming ‘soaring charges’.
We have written before about sky-high roaming charges that can mean holidaymakers paying out hundreds of pounds for services they would get for free while at home. Although thankfully the number of these horror stories is beginning to decline as mobile phone users either stop using their phone whilst abroad or buy a local SIM card for the duration of their travel.
And, as we wrote last week, if they travel to India, that may even be given one free by the Indian government.
But if you’re planning on using your mobile outside the EU, be aware that charges vary considerably by network and country – and can be very steep. For example, Three currently charges customers using their phone in China £2/min to make a call, £1.25/min to receive a call, 35p to send a text and a hefty £6/MB to use data.
The new charge is to be introduced on August 1st, 2017. Just in time for the August school holidays.