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Changes in roaming charges for mobiles

Can you explain about the latest changes in roaming charges for mobiles? F.M.

Making calls or accessing data with your mobile phone when you are in another European Union country has become much cheaper this summer.

Free roaming rules now allow those with a UK mobile to have their calls and data costs charged at the same rate whether they are in the UK or France (or elsewhere in the EU). The same applies when using a French mobile in the UK. If you exceed your limits then charges will still apply of course but are now capped.

Most contracts specify a monthly data allowance so always connect to any available wifi service when travelling to help avoid exceeding this.

Some prepaid mobile SIMs have been offering this type of common tariff throughout the EU for a long time, so one could ask why it has needed politicians to get involved before customers could benefit.

Operators, however, must watch for abuses where people use out-of-country phones for more than four months of the year.

The change is of particular help to those in the process of purchasing a property in France.

Up until now technicians managing the connection of utilities have been instructed not to call international mobiles resulting in many people entering into a new French mobile contract.

At UK Telecom we have already seen that the telecom engineers are now prepared to call our customers directly, although there is always a possibility that one will not be helpful. The gas, electricity and water teams will most likely be allowed the same new ability to call UK mobiles.

The downside is that this arrangement may end in March 2019 when the UK leaves the EU. It is hoped that the UK and the EU agree a new arrangement that enables the benefits to continue. There are estimated to be almost three times as many people from EC countries in the UK for each UK person in the rest of the EU so it appears likely.

Question answered by Bob Elliott from the telephone and broadband provider, UK Telecom. See for more information on their services in France

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