UK roaming charges are set to soar thanks to the new Budget

Despite the good news of plans to invest heavily in the UK’s 5G networks, the recent Spring Budget has also come with some bad news for UK mobile owners with regards to increased roaming charges. 

Chancellor Philip Hammond has said that he plans to introduce “UK VAT on roaming telecoms outside the EU in line with international standard practice”. Just how much VAT can we expect? 20%. 

This means that any mobile phone charges you incur while using your phone abroad will now increase by 20%.

When the VAT is first introduced it’ll only apply to countries outside of the EU which is currently working to eradicate roaming charges for residents of its member states from June 2017, as part of its efforts to establish a digital single market.

Pay as you roam

What will happen to roaming charges within the EU if Britain withdraws from the Union as scheduled in 2019 remains unclear, though no doubt it will be a part of the negotiations. 

The charges that can be incurred from using mobile phones abroad is already a point of confusion for many UK mobile users; stories of unexpectedly high phone bills after a trip aboard are extremely common. 

Now UK mobile owners will have to exercise even greater care when they travel outside of the EU. Be sure to keep abreast of any news to changes to charges within the EU when Brexit negotiations are complete. 

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.