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Warning that Brexit could make roaming charges higher

That’s according to MEP Deirdre Clune, who raised the issue today.

Image: Shutterstock/Leonardo da

THE BANE OF many travellers’ lives is roaming charges – but thankfully the EU has started taking steps in recent years to lower the cost of using your mobile phone while abroad in Europe.

However, the Brexit referendum has left some people wondering what’s going to happen to roaming charges when the UK leaves the EU.

Today, MEP Deirdre Clune said that the “huge uncertainty” over Brexit and what it will mean for consumers extends to roaming.

“Roaming charges are due to be abolished across Europe next year, 2017, and that’s being seen as good for the consumer, good for travellers, good for tourism and another positive sign of how Europe has worked to ensure there are no barriers across Europe,” she said.

But she asked: “If the UK exits Europe as they decided to do, what will that mean for Irish travellers travelling to the UK or across to Europe? Will they have higher charges – will they have to pay higher charges for roaming?”

Answering her own question, Clune said that it is “likely” to mean higher charges, given “that the UK will be outside Europe and the companies there will be free to do what they like; they are not subject to EU rules or EU regulation”.

It will be difficult for consumers. It will be expensive, and it will also mean UK people travelling to Ireland as tourists, it will be a disadvantage for them.

The MEP said that this uncertainty over charges could also apply to other consumer issues once the UK has left Europe. 

So far, the UK hasn’t made any concrete promises about what will happen with roaming charges. Once outside of the EU, companies won’t be subject to regulation – but that doesn’t mean they will necessarily want to impose higher roaming charges either.

As with most of the post-Brexit outcomes, the situation is far from clear.

As for the attitude amongst her fellow MEPs toward Bexit, Clune said: “At the beginning there was shock… now people want certainty, want article 50 triggered as soon as possible.”

She said that once the UK has its new prime minister settled in, it is time to trigger the article that will enable it to leave the EU.

The process needs to get underway to “eliminate a lot of the uncertainty that is there”, said Clune.

Read: EU roaming charges have just been slashed. Here’s what you’ll be paying from toda>

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