Northern Ireland news

Roaming charges set to return with Brexit

The ban on roaming charges came into force in 2017

BRITISH Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that mobile roaming charges and geo-blocking could be part of a post-Brexit reality after confirming it will leave the European Union's Digital Single Market.

In her major speech outlining her government's Brexit position on Friday, Mrs May signalled the break with Europe which will see citizens lose scores of recent rights, including the abolition of mobile roaming fees.

Roaming charges had long been an issue for people living in border areas, with many complaining that they had been saddled with high mobile phone bills.

People living in counties Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Armagh often paid higher mobile bills when their phones picked up the signal from the Republic.

Following years of negotiations, the EU secured a deal with mobile phone companies last year ending the practice.

The ban on roaming allows citizens across the EU to use their mobile call and data allowances in any other member state without additional charges, and out-of-allowance usage to be charged as though they were in their home nation.

However it had been feared that a deal could be reversed because of Brexit.

The new rules on geo-blocking within the EU will prevent companies operating in more than one European nation from redirecting customers elsewhere - for example, if a product is cheaper in Spain than Germany, the company's Spanish website must not force German visitors to the German site.

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