The EU ban on roaming charges due to come into effect in June will not apply to British tourists after Brexit, policymakers have said. A leaked document from the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) says that travellers from the UK will continue to face higher bills for using their mobile phone abroad unless the government can work out a favourable Brexit deal with the EU.
Roaming charges are set to be abolished in Europe from 15 June, meaning consumers will no longer have to pay extra for using their mobile phone in other countries. Fees have been steadily falling for several years and in April 2016, the European Commission enforced caps that saw roaming charges fall by as much as 75%.
From June, consumers will be able to call, text or browse the internet on their phone anywhere in Europe for the same price they pay at home. However, there had been questions about whether the UK would still benefit from the policy after it voted to leave the European Union in June last year.
A leaked document from ITRE, who helped put together the legislation, states that this will "no longer apply with respect to the UK" when the country exits the EU in 2019, adding that "transitional arrangements will be necessary". The analysis also warns of the potential impact on businesses, "and other travellers to and from the UK", suggesting tourists visiting Britain could also be affected.
UK residents already face potential restrictions on their ability to work in other European countries following the Brexit vote, in which 51.9% of Britons voted in favour of leaving the EU.
Tim Farron, leader of the UK's Liberal Democrat Party, told The Guardian: "From the cost of food and petrol to mobile phone bills, Brexit is hitting consumers in the pocket. Families shouldn't pay the price for this government's reckless hard Brexit plans.
"Theresa May must fight to keep hard-won benefits for British consumers like reduced roaming charges in the negotiations. This shows again why the British people must get the final say on the government's Brexit deal once its full impact becomes clear."
The UK government's Article 50 Bill will be debated in Parliament this week.