BT’s EE to offer free LTE roaming across Europe

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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UK mobile network to extend LTE roaming in most of Europe to all pre-pay and post-pay customers

BT’s mobile operation is extending 4G roaming across most of Europe to its customers for no extra charge.

The deal includes not only the 28-nation European Union (EU) but a number of other countries and territories. Both pre-pay and post-pay customers are eligible for the deals.

In addition EE is offering a new set of tariffs that include 4G roaming in Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the US. The company said that those destinations, plus the European ones, cover over 80% of time EE customers spend overseas.

Free roaming within the EU becomes mandatory in June anyway, but many operators restrict their 4G customers to roaming on 3G only. The company will launch its extension of 4G roaming on 15 June, the same date that pan-EU roaming comes into effect.

The launch is likely to be a sign that European operators will begin a new level of competition now that that they cannot charge for standard 3G roaming.

EE CEO Marc Allera said: “Our customers want to be able to stay connected whether they’re travelling around the UK or abroad. We go further to provide our customers with 4G in more places across the UK than any other operator, and we’re offering inclusive roaming in more destinations as well.”

EE – formerly Everything Everywhere – was a 50-50 joint venture of Deutsche Telekom and Orange until BT bought it for £12.5 billion in early 2016. Now the German and French incumbents are significant shareholders in BT.

The list of countries covered by free LTE roaming includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland, as well as the UK controlled Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey – officially outside the EU – but not other non-member states such as Serbia and Turkey.