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Can I use my French mobile in the UK without roaming fees?

Since Brexit, French mobile operators have not been obliged to waive such fees for phone use in the UK

Mobile phone roaming charges depend on your provider and your tariff Pic: Yulia Grigoryeva / Shutterstock

Reader Question: We are planning a trip to the UK from our home in France. Will we be able to use our mobile phones while there without being charged extra for roaming?

The mobile phone charges associated with making a trip to the UK from France post-Brexit depend on your provider and your tariff. 

EU legislation passed in 2017 abolished the fees for people travelling within the bloc but since Brexit, mobile operators from both sides of the Channel are no longer obliged to waive the charges for visits to the other country.

In spite of this, SFR, Orange, Free and Bouygues Telecom all continue to class the UK in the same way as EU countries, meaning that customers can generally use their phones as they would in France without incurring extra charges.

Other providers such as Réglo Mobile will allow you to use your phone in the UK – and in other countries in Europe – for free but will limit your usage. This means that you may have 100 texts as opposed to unlimited texts, for example. 

Similarly, Red by SFR also treats the UK as an EU country and therefore keeps roaming in the country free, but may add extra charges for features such as MMS messaging depending on your tariff. 

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.

The decision of French providers to keep UK roaming included in mobile packages is in contrast to British operators, several of which have reintroduced fees for new or upgrading customers, or have started enforcing ‘fair usage’ limits for customers travelling in Europe.

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

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