UK mobile phone customers will be better protected against unexpected roaming charges while travelling abroad under new rules to be introduced by Ofcom later this year.

Following the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU), ‘roam like at home’ rules and UK laws requiring mobile operators to alert customers about roaming charges stopped.

While most operators voluntarily continued to send their customers alerts, an Ofcom review found "the quality of information being provided can be inconsistent and unclear".

The regulators research also found that nearly one in five (19%) holidaymakers were unaware they could face extra charges when using their phone abroad.

New roaming charges rules to protect UK mobile customers

Regulator Ofcom revealed on Friday (March 22) it would be introducing new rules in October to protect mobile phone customers against unexpected roaming charges.

The new rules will come into force on October 1, 2024 and will require mobile providers to notify customers when they start roaming.

It will also require them to to provide customers with access to free and clear information so they can make informed decisions about whether and/or how to use their mobile phone abroad, according to Ofcom.

This information will need to make sure customers understand any roaming charges they may incur, including:

  • Any limits that may apply
  • The ability to set a spend cap
  • Where to find additional information about roaming


Ofcom’s Director of Telecoms Consumer Policy, Cristina Luna-Esteban, said: "The last thing holidaymakers want when returning from a trip abroad is an unexpected mobile phone bill.

"At the moment, some customers aren’t getting clear information from their provider to help them manage their mobile use and plan their spend.

"Our new protections will mean you’re told what it’ll cost when you start roaming, so you can be confident that there won’t be any surprises when it comes to your mobile bill while on holiday."