As summer is upon us, I thought it might be helpful to update those not planning a staycation in lovely Eddisbury about mobile phone and data roaming charges in European Union countries.

I recognise that for constituents keen to travel to the EU for a well-earned break, any changes resulting in charging for roaming services will be incredibly frustrating.

While it is ultimately a commercial decision for the mobile phone network operators - EE, Vodafone, and Three - to reintroduce roaming charges, I am pleased that the Government has legislated to protect customers from unexpected charges.

As I am sure you’ve already heard, Three became the third UK mobile operator - after EE and Vodafone - to introduce extra charges for customers wishing to use their phones in the EU.

The rules have changed for both new and upgrading Three customers, meaning that as of May 23 last year, affected customers pay a charge of £2 per day when roaming within the EU. Similarly, Vodafone charges affected customers £2 a day to use the calls, text messages, and data included in their plan. EE charges £2.29 per day.

I would, however, like to reassure you that the Government has legislated to protect Cheshire holidaymakers - and businesspeople abroad - from unexpected charges.

In UK law, the Mobile Roaming (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 ensure that mobile operators apply a financial limit on consumer mobile data usage abroad.

The limit is £45 per monthly billing period, and you cannot continue using mobile data services when roaming unless you proactively choose to continue spending above that limit.

The Government has also legislated for the continuity of compulsory customer alerts when people reach 80 per cent and 100 per cent of their data usage.

I warmly welcome the announcement from Virgin Mobile O2 that they will keep roaming free for their customers. As such, Virgin Mobile O2 customers travelling to Europe can use their mobile data and make calls and texts on the same terms that apply to them in the UK.

More broadly - and because there are so many different tariffs across the networks - the Government advises consumers to check with their operators before travelling abroad.

As per Ofcom regulations, providers must ensure their contract terms are fair and transparent. They must also tell customers about changes to their contracts.

Where those changes will particularly disadvantage customers, providers must give them at least a month’s notice and the right to exit their contracts without being penalised.

Further requirements to prevent roaming bill shock include providers publishing roaming charges on their websites, and sending alerts with pricing information when customers start roaming.

For the most popular mobile networks, I’ve listed below the customer service numbers that you can call or text from your mobile handset to ask questions of your operator.

Let’s not return to the bad old days of a great holiday followed by an unexpectedly eye-watering phone bill!

Finally, back in Eddisbury, the Government continues to promote high-quality digital infrastructure, and is already delivering significant upgrades to mobile signal quality through the Shared Rural Network - now extended to Malpas - along with Project Gigabit.

I’m delighted to say that our rural superfast internet coverage is broadening across the constituency - and with it, opportunity.

EE: text 150
Vodafone: call 191
Three: call 333
BT Mobile: call 150
O2 (monthly): call 202
O2 (PAYG): call 4445
Virgin Mobile: call 789
Sky Mobile: call 0330 123 1785
Tesco Mobile: call 4455
giffgaff: visit