UK Virgin Mobile and O2 customers won't have to pay to roam in the EU

O2 Virgin Merge
O2 Virgin Merge (Image credit: Telefónica)

What you need to know

  • O2 and Virgin Media customers will continue to roam in the EU for free, using their current data, call, and text plans.
  • Customers of Vodafone, EE, and Three will be charged fees later this year.
  • This comes after the UK chose to leave the EU and is no longer covered by previous roaming agreements.

Customers of both Virgin Mobile and O2 in the UK won't have to pay to roam when entering EU countries, the two companies have announced. Roaming charges are being introduced by a number of competing carriers as a result of the UK's decision to leave the EU. Previously, UK users didn't need to worry about international roaming fees regardless of the carrier they were on thanks to EU deals.

The announcement means that customers of Virgin Mobile and O2 will be able to use their normal bucket of data, messages, and calls when roaming in the EU without any additional charges being levied. Vodafone, EE, and Three are set to bring fees into play later this year.

The BBC reports that Virgin Media O2, the company that now owns both O2 and Virgin Media, believes it could be saving families up to £100 when traveling.

Virgin Media O2 - the company that owns the Virgin Mobile and O2 networks - said a family of four going abroad for two weeks could see an extra £100 on their bill, based on analysis of rates from other providers."We're starting the year by giving our customers some certainty: we will not be reintroducing roaming fees in Europe for customers on O2 or Virgin Mobile," said Gareth Turpin, chief commercial officer.

It's hoped that this will cause a rethink among carriers that will introduce charges, with competition doing what competition does — driving down prices. Whether that will happen quickly enough for this summer's holiday-makers remains to be seen, however.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.