Blog: Government claims Brexit victory as just one firm cancels new EU roaming charges – The Independent

The government has claimed a Brexit victory after two mobile phone networks declined to impose new roaming charges on travel to the EU.

The charges were abolished by the EU in 2017, but Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal failed to maintain the perk of membership.

Some Brexiteers said there was no prospect of the charges returning, but most networks have re-imposed them.

Two exceptions are O2 and Virgin Media, which say they do not intend to reimpose the charges. Other networks had said the same but have since reversed course.

The government, which has struggled to present many concrete benefits from its Brexit policy, seized on the news as a victory.

Boris Johnson said on Monday: “I welcome the decision by Virgin Media and O2 to keep roaming free, meaning UK citizens can still use their mobile data, calls and texts across Europe with no extra charges.”

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries, an ardent Brexiteer, offered her “respect” to the two companies.

She added: “We proposed to the European Commission that maintaining surcharge free mobile roaming be part of Brexit negotiations. They rejected that.”


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But Steve Peers, a professor of of European Law at the University of Essex, said the claim was an “overstatement”.

Citing UK government draft negotiating documents from February 2020, he pointed out that “the UK proposed merely to discuss roaming charges three years later” after the deal came into force.

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