How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal: Using Mobile Devices

BrexitEU countries are members of the digital single market. This means  you can use your mobile devices to make calls, send texts and use mobile data services for no more than you would be charged when in the UK.

There is also a financial limit set of €50. Operators are also required to send an alert once your device reaches 80% and then 100% of the agreed data roaming limit. This applies wherever you are in the world.

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal all of the above will end as the UK will not be in the digital single market.

“This might affect the amount of calls that you can make, texts you can send and data you can consume, including applying limits that are less than the amount available in your bundle when you’re in the UK.”

The advice from the UK Government is to contact your mobile operator to see what deals they are offering.

This situation is further complicated with the case of the island of Ireland where at the moment there is no border between the province of Northern Ireland and Ireland.


By Michael 1952 via Wikimedia Commons

On March 29th 2019 Northern Ireland will no longer be in the EU – that includes the digital single market. The border is about 310 miles long and has 275 crossing points. Anyone using a mobile device in Northern Ireland might inadvertently use a signal coming from Ireland (a member of the digital single market). The mobile signal in Ireland is stronger than it is in Northern Ireland so that this is a distinct possibility. If this occurs people in Northern Ireland will find that they are being charged the EU rate for Third Countries for using their mobile devices.

Countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) but who are not in the EU are members of the European Single Market and as such are also members of the Digital Single Market :Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

Estimates put the value of the UK’s digital exports in the creative industries alone at £21 billion.

It is possible that mobile operators will choose not to charge UK citizens more for using devices in the EU but as of writing this that has not been decided.

Reporter Fiona Grahame

Citizen smartphone journalism

2 replies »

  1. Sadly radio signals do not respect International Borders. When it comes to mobile transmissions a handset is more often than not in range of more than one transmitting/receiving aerial mast and the system automatically picks the mast with the strongest signal. When it comes to the Republic/NI Border area then while you might well be in the Republic the strongest signal might well be from the North, though in my own experience I have found that the Border area is better served by masts in the Republic. It must also be added that the system can by triangulation place whether the user’s handset is in the Republic or the North, this can be adapted to provide a user in the Republic a signal from the Republic even though this could be the weakest of signals being received.

    So once again we see the total lack of foresight and planning by Wastemonster and their brother/sisterhood of Brexiteers & DUP, is liable to leave the the normal guy/gal in the street i.e. you and me with a less than satisfactory service.

    Oh, I bet many of you in the 38% now wish you had voted remain and had voted ‘YES’ back in the Indy Ref back in 2014!!!

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