Vodafone becomes second UK operator to bring back EU roaming charges

The advertising banner / video wall of the mobile phone company Vodafone's business segment in Dusseldorf, Germany
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Vodafone will charge new and upgrading customers to use its service in Europe from January 2022, making it the second UK company to reintroduce roaming charges after EE.

New customers joining Vodafone, or those upgrading or changing existing plans after 11 August, 2021, will qualify for a daily charge for using their devices in European roaming zones, unless their plan specifically includes Europe.

The charges will start on 6 January, 2022, and will cost at least £1 a day depending on the tariff. For Vodafone Pay monthly plans, roaming passes for its Europe Zone will cost £8 for 8 days, £15 for 15 days, or £2 for a single day pass.

For Unlimited or Limited Data Xtra plans, there will be no charge.

“The majority of our customers are not regular roamers. Indeed, fewer than half our customers roamed beyond the Republic of Ireland in 2019,” said Ahmed Essam, Vodafone’s CEO. “And the reality is that including roaming – a service that costs us money to provide – in every plan means more than half of our customers are paying for something that they don’t use. What’s free for one person usually has to be paid for by someone else.”

Essam added that Vodafone thinks it's fairer to give people “more choice over what they pay for”, by either opting into a price plan that includes free roaming, or paying for roaming only when they roam.

“Changing the way we offer roaming to our customers will enable us to continue investing in our network to the benefit of our customers, and in the context of the rising costs we are facing as a result of new Telecoms Security Requirements, for example,” he added. “We totally agree that the UK telecoms sector needs a new robust security framework and wholly support this, but it has to be paid for.”

In June, EE became the first UK operator to bring back roaming fees across the EU following the implementation of the Brexit trade deal. Starting on 7 July, 2021, new or upgraded contracts will be charged £2 per day to use their allowance in 47 destinations from January 2022.

A spokesperson told IT Pro that the charge would “support investment into our UK-based customer service and leading UK network”.

Zach Marzouk

Zach Marzouk is a former ITPro, CloudPro, and ChannelPro staff writer, covering topics like security, privacy, worker rights, and startups, primarily in the Asia Pacific and the US regions. Zach joined ITPro in 2017 where he was introduced to the world of B2B technology as a junior staff writer, before he returned to Argentina in 2018, working in communications and as a copywriter. In 2021, he made his way back to ITPro as a staff writer during the pandemic, before joining the world of freelance in 2022.