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Mobile phone operator EE has indicated that they intend to charge for roaming in the EU from next year, something that was quite costly before EU regulations put paid to extortionate fees. Now that the UK has left the EU changes are being made.

EE have decided that from 1 January 2022 they will charge £2 a day for roaming in EU although the Republic is exempt presently it seems. Operator O2 have put a cap on 25GB data when roaming in the EU bringing it into line with its 'Unlimited Data' customers but this is unlikely to affect many people as the vast majority use much less.

Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

Commenting on the move Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty said "The decisions by EE and O2 to reintroduce roaming charges has undermined the false narrative that the only post-Brexit disruptions in Northern Ireland are east-west ones

"Though EE has indicated that it intends to exempt the Republic of Ireland from roaming at this stage, O2 has not exempted the Republic from changes to its fair usage policy, which will cap the amount of data users can access traveling in EU countries, including the rest of Ireland. This could mean enormous additional cost and inconvenience for those living near the border, where phone users often roam without even crossing the border. 

 "EU roaming charges were removed as part of the creation of the EU Digital Single Market, and prohibited mobile phone operators for charging extra for consumers travelling inside the EU. Since the UK has left the EU, the protection no longer applies - and since the Protocol does not cover, Northern Ireland consumers have no extra protection."

Mr McNulty added "There is a powerful myth taking hold that the only post-Brexit disruptions are those relating to movement of goods from Britain. That was always false, but the announcements of O2 and EE demonstrate just how much potential there is for disruption on everyday north south issues especially for those of us who live in border communities, and as a result of Brexit more generally. 

"It is welcome that EE has indicated it will not be charging for roaming in the Republic - but that is simply at their own discretion. There is no legal obligation on them to continue this exemption, and no guarantee that other providers - who must now be more likely to follow EE in reintroducing charges - will make a similar exception for cross-border users on the island of Ireland.

"The UK has left the single market for services, which are not included in the Protocol - causing a huge range of disruptions on the island of Ireland, from financial services to car insurance to healthcare. It is time politicians and the media started reflecting the actual range of problems Brexit is creating, and not simply the false narrative peddled by some."

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