Virgin Media O2 says it won’t introduce post-Brexit EU roaming charges


irgin Media O2 today bragged that it will not reintroduce roaming charges in Europe for its mobile phone users, setting it apart from the industry.

Rivals including Vodafone, EE and Three have said they will impose roaming fees this year in reaction to Brexit. Before that vote, UK phone users could text and call in the EU as part of their normal tariff.

Gareth Turpin, chief commercial officer for mobile at Virgin Media O2, said: “When Virgin Media and O2 came together in June 2021, we were clear from the outset that we would be a customer-first business and the biggest telecoms challenger in the market. Those were not empty words.”

Virgin Media O2 says it is the only one of the four mobile network operators in the UK not to reintroduce roaming charges. That news comes as travel testing rules are eased sparking a boom in travel bookings from Britons anxious to get out of the country.

A survey carried for Virgin Media O2 shows that by this summer the 75% of people expect to travel abroad – and a majority expect to do so more this year than they did in 2021.

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Virgin Media O2’s decision to avoid roaming charges represents a direct challenge to the industry at a time when competition for customers is fierce.

It’s not all good news for Virgin Media customers, however. The price of its monthly broadband deal is rising by around £5 a month. BT, TalkTalk and the rest are likely to follow suit, a strain on already hard-pressed family finances.

Working from home during the pandemic has made broadband a necessity for millions.