Will French mobile companies reintroduce UK roaming fees post-Brexit?

Two of the UK providers are bringing back charges for some customers - we look in reverse at what Orange, Free and other French firms plan

1 September 2021
An image of a man holding a mobile phone

None of the major French mobile providers have suggested that they will be reintroducing roaming charges for customers travelling to the UK in the near future Pic: Kostenko Maxim / Shutterstock

By Emma Morgan

[Article updated on September 3 to include response from Bouygues]

Will French mobile phone providers reintroduce roaming charges in the UK? 

When the UK officially left the EU in January 2021, France’s four biggest telecom companies all said that they would not reintroduce roaming charges for customers travelling to the country. 

The UK operators all said the same, although EE and Vodafone have since announced that they will in fact be bringing the fees back in January 2022 for customers starting or upgrading a plan this summer.

Read more: Vodafone’s new £2 a day roaming fees to hit customers visiting France

Read more: Will post-Brexit bank fees follow return of UK mobile roaming charges?

This has led some people to question whether French providers will do the same, but there is currently no evidence that they will.  

Orange 

In December 2020, Orange told BFMTV that it would not be reintroducing roaming fees for customers travelling across the Channel. 

Orange’s website still unequivocally states that “you can still use your mobile allowance in the UK, the same as you would in France.

Free 

In a document published on August 4 detailing Free’s tariffs for the coming year, the company continued to include the UK in its list of Europe Zone countries where roaming fees do not apply. 

This means that, for this year at least, additional charges will not be reintroduced for people using their Free phones in the UK. 

SFR 

On SFR’s website, a notice states: “Since January 31, 2021, the UK is no longer a member of the European Union or the European Community. 

“Calls, data, SMS and MMS made from this country are no longer under Abolish Roaming rules,” through which the EU bans the charging of fees for travellers between its member states. 

“However, we do not plan to make any changes to our mobile offers (SFR, RED, La Carte). The UK continues to be considered as part of this EU regulation,” it said.

Bouygues Telecom

Since Bouygues affirmed that it would not be bringing back roaming fees after Brexit, the company has not published anything suggesting that this will change in the future. 

The Connexion contacted Bouygues for clarification and a spokesperson said "I can confirm that roaming charges have not been reintroduced." They did not add, however, whether there are any plans to change this in the future.

All French mobile provider customers should note that the absence of additional fees applies to data, calls and texts used in the UK, and not calls to the UK from France, which may still incur an extra charge.

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