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Holidaymakers issued warning as new mobile roaming fee rules confirmed

Holidaymakers issued warning as new mobile roaming fee rules confirmed

One in five holidaymakers apparently have no idea about data roaming rules.

If you're anything like me, I imagine the only thing getting you through the bleak, rainy months of March are thoughts of your 2024 summer vacation.

However, holidaymakers have been issued a stern warning by experts prior to booking this year's trips abroad.

If you don't want to get hit with massive phone bills, read on.

Holidaymakers have received a stern warning.
Mongkol Chuewong/Getty

What is mobile data roaming?

Data roaming is when holidaymakers use their mobile phones while outside the country that they live in.

When you land in a foreign country and your phone disconnects from your carrier's network (i.e. Three, Vodafone, Tesco Mobile), you can either find a nearby WiFi hotspot - in your hotel, a restaurant, etc - or roam.

Roaming will cause your phone to hop onto another local network.

The issue is, however, that data roaming isn't free - like it was prior to Brexit - and countries can differ greatly when it comes to how much you'll get charged by your provider to roam while travelling.

The new data roaming rule will come into play later this year.
Natalie Zotova/Getty

How did mobile data roaming fees change after Brexit?

Prior to the United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union, Brits benefited from EU roaming.

Following Brexit, however, UK telecoms companies were no longer obligated to give their customers surcharge-free roaming.

These dreaded fees were reintroduced (boo!), and to make matters worse, providers had no obligation to alert their customers of rates/fees.

According to Ofcom, one in five holidaymakers are unaware they'll be charged more to use their phone abroad - so consider this your official warning.

What are the new Ofcom rules about data roaming and when will they be introduced?

The newly confirmed rule, however - outlined by Ofcom, the government-approved regulatory authority for broadcasting and telecommunications in the UK - says that network providers WILL have to give their customers clear information about data roaming while they're travelling abroad.

The new regulation will come into play on 1 October 2024.

The new rule should help make holiday-makers more aware of the conditions of their data roaming.
Eternity In An Instant/Getty

"The last thing holidaymakers want when returning from a trip abroad is an unexpected mobile phone bill," Cristina Luna-Esteban, Ofcom’s Director of Telecoms Consumer Policy, told press this week.

"At the moment, some customers aren’t getting clear information from their provider to help them manage their mobile use and plan their spend.

"Our new protections will mean you’re told what it’ll cost when you start roaming, so you can be confident that there won’t be any surprises when it comes to your mobile bill while on holiday."

Until October though, you should check your network provider's website if you're worried about roaming fees.

Featured Image Credit: Eternity in an Instant/Getty Images/d3sign/Getty Images

Topics: Technology, UK News, Money, Shopping, Travel