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SIM card and Brexit

As we are now very close to actual Brexit instead of hypothetical Brexit I wondered if anyone has any new information on how this will affect SIM cards in Scotland and Mainland Europe. Transferable, any word on this from any companies?

Posted by
266 posts

Nobody knows.
But I strongly suspect that from Jan 1st, a UK SIM will incur heavy roaming charges in Europe. I base this on how hard the mobile companies fought against the original European directive that there should be no additional cost to use a phone within Europe.
In July, the UK government advice was as follows:
"From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end."
"Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get from 1 January 2021."

Posted by
24641 posts

no clue

when they tell us maybe it will be helpful

Posted by
4348 posts

Brexit happened 31 January 2020. We have been in 11 months of transition since.

The BBC article is 2 months old. There remains considerable uncertainty as to exactly what will happen in terms of a trade deal after the end of the year. Some mobile phone providers such as EE have said that at present, they don’t intend to reintroduce roaming charges in Europe. This could change at any time of course.

Posted by
4950 posts

Obviously not from UK or EU, so my opinion is worth about the combined financial value of the characters in this post...but knowing businesses, and based on other examples throughout the world, a thoughtful analysis comes up with: "It Depends"

I think some of the larger networks, like Vodaphone, with a presence in both the UK and the EU may preserve no cost roaming. Other smaller systems, especially those that might be primarily the UK, may balk at absorbing the cost. That is a bit the way it is in the US with roaming in Canada and Mexico, where the feature gains customers, it is offered, where offering a cheaper product without sells SIMS, it will not.

Of course, a SIM for a tourist, vs SIMs or cell plans for the the locals is also two different things. There is no need to assume it will be either/or, rather, since there will be no mandate to control roaming costs, there will likely be the option offered at a price, or as a marketing person would say...a discount offered for "limited" roaming.

For example, Switzerland is not part of the "Roaming" agreement, but many companies offer different options that either include, or exclude Switzerland, depending what you might want, where they are offered, and the company offering the plan.

Posted by
24641 posts

Paul, Switzerland has always been part of the roaming benefit, at least for me and my wife, O2 and 3 respectively.

Posted by
1924 posts

An interesting question... and certainly it will depend on not just which provider, but which plan you have. We have T-Mobile Nederland SIM cards in our mobile phones with the UNLIMITED package (the best they offer). We pay about 28.50€ per month and receive the following:  

Internet: Unlimited in NL and 21 GB when traveling in EU
Calling: Unlimited in NL and EU
SMS: Unlimited in NL and EU

Currently, when we go to Switzerland - not an EU member - we pay "out-of-bundle" rates for, calls, data, and SMS (and it's pricey!).

When we go to the UK we always pay for data. Been that way since I joined T-Mobile Nederland in 2017. For example, we went to Scotland in January 2020 (Pre-Covid), though our calls and texts were free, we had to "pre-purchase" our data-option (9.99€ for 2GB). As we landed in Glasgow, we received an SMS outlining our projected costs and options (Of course, it was in Dutch, so I had to wait until we got on the Airport Wi-Fi to use my translator and determine my best option). I looked back at my other trips to the UK over the last couple of years (09/2019, 04/2019, 09/2018, 06/2018, 05/2018, 03/2018) and in all cases, we did pay a separate fee for data (many were business trips and I must have WhatsApp!!). 

We will see what happens when our contract expires in June 2021 - or if they make another adjustment in the near future. No doubt whatever T-Mobile Nederland decides (and they are owned by telecom giant, Deutsche Telekom), it will undoubtedly work to their advantage.

Unfortunately, T-Mobile Nederland SIM cards will not work in the USA, so we have to use "pre-paid" SIM cards when visiting there. Fortunately, both our phones have dual-SIM capability, so we still use the same phones when traveling outside of Europe.  

Posted by
1085 posts

From a Telegraph article dated today title begins with “How travel to Europe will change after Brexit...”

No real info except for the cap on charges but it states

Roaming charges

UK mobile users will no longer be automatically entitled to free roaming after December 31. Vodafone, O2 and Three have indicated they will continue to offer it – but we don’t know for how long or on what terms. The Government says it will cap automatic data charges at £45 a month for operators that do not continue free roaming. But that doesn’t limit the rate at which you will be charged, just the total amount you can be billed automatically. So you could find that you reach the £45 limit rather quickly, then have to decide whether to stop using your phone or pay for more data.

Posted by
14 posts

Check out the world sim card from mobal.com, you can get talk, text only or data. I used it in 2019 in UK and France with no problems.