As one of the world’s largest economies, the United Kingdom is undoubtedly an appealing place to start a business, not to mention open up a satellite office of an existing business. However, for companies that rely on regular telecommunications between the UK and other countries, the UK’s looming departure from the European Union is casting a long shadow on their plans.
Much uncertainty continues to linger over the UK’s future relationship with the EU and, therefore, the implications – positive or negative – for businesses. This is true, for example, in the case of international calls. Could your staff or customers soon find themselves having to pay more simply for calling your UK-based personnel? It’s a point that we have carefully investigated for your benefit.
Don’t think about remaining – instead, think about roaming
At the time of writing, the UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March 2019. Until that date, EU law will remain applicable to UK-based businesses. That law includes the omission of roaming charges that, for mobile users living in the UK but travelling to other EU territories, could have previously proven prohibitively expensive. Might your business need to consider this particular factor?
The term “roaming” simply refers to using your mobile phone abroad. Since June 2017, users of UK mobile phone tariffs have, when on their travels elsewhere in the EU, had the option – in many instances – of continuing to use those tariffs’ minutes, texts and data without paying extra.
This arrangement could have proved a significant boom for many UK-based businesses regularly sending their employees abroad for business trips. BBC News recalls that, before those additional fees were scrapped, there were stories of people facing bills of hundreds or even thousands of pounds after returning from trips elsewhere on the continent.
Will those roaming charges be back after Brexit?
Were they to return, you could obviously start feeling a lump in your throat. However, the omens are generally positive. As the UK Government continues to work towards securing and delivering a withdrawal agreement with the EU, the GOV.UK site has issued some timely advice…
Should the Government succeed in implementing a deal before Brexit, surcharge-free roaming will definitely remain in place during what the Government calls “the Implementation Period”. This is a transitional phase where almost all EU law would stay applicable to the UK.
However, the UK would leave the Implementation Period on 31 December 2020 – and that’s when, as UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced, the UK will leave the EU’s Digital Single Market. As a result, UK mobile network operators might be free to reintroduce those charges.
That could also be the case should a “no-deal” Brexit occur, the Guardian explains. Still, the Government intends to legislate to preserve cost-effective data roaming in the EU. Furthermore, for your UK staff, cheap call answering is in reach thanks to the national telecoms company Planet Numbers. The company can also help those staff to ring overseas offices delightfully inexpensively.