Traveling British trumpets for travelers to Norway, Iceland and – maybe one day

UK residents traveling to Norway or Iceland will soon have their mobile roaming charges capped, part of a recent trade deal between the countries.

The UK signed a free trade agreement last July with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, a triumvirate of markets notable for not being members of the European Union (EU), but from the adjacent European Economic Area (EEA), which essentially extends the EU’s single market to a handful of additional European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries.

Post-Brexit Britain

EU and EEA residents have been able to use their domestic data, voice and SMS plans across the region since new roaming pricing rules came into effect in 2017, which has changed the game for tourists and business travelers. However, with its official exit from the EU in January 2020, these rules no longer applied to UK residents, leaving it up to individual mobile networks to decide whether or not to charge excesses for those traveling overseas. While some networks have promised not to change anything, the reality is that most have reintroduced some form of charges or restrictions – meanwhile the EU recently pledged to keep remote roaming charges for a while. another decade.

It is against this backdrop, then, that the UK’s latest announcement is likely to be greeted with something akin to a cold shrug. It’s also worth noting that the deal doesn’t necessarily drop roaming charges altogether, as it only “caps” charges – no information has been provided on what those caps will be.

Legislation resulting from the deal is not expected to be in place until next year, after which the UK has said it plans to “work with mobile operators to ensure the savings from this cap are passed on to consumers.

A curious omission in all this is the Principality of Liechtenstein, which, although part of the free trade agreement signed last year, is not in fact included in this roaming pact. The reason, apparently, is due to the fact that Liechtenstein is not a party to “mobile roaming provisions due to capacity”. The UK would like to point out that this may change at a later time. So it’s something.

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