Birmingham City University retail expert and political commentator Associate Professor Steve McCabe has said that the announcement from telecommunications giants O2 and VirginMedia that EU roaming fees will be waived for UK customers in Europe is ‘welcome’ in the current cost of living crisis, and could lead to businesses and those able to afford breaks in Europe switching providers in significant numbers.


“As far as those whose using O2 and VirginMedia, effectively to become one company since it was announced they'll be merged, business users regularly travelling to EU countries will undoubtedly be attracted by being able to make free calls without worrying about the cost.

“However, as always, the devil will be in the small print as to whether there are other 'hidden charges'.  Therefore, though it's a case of caveat emptor - buyer beware - a good many of those travelling to Europe this year for holidays may be tempted to switch or, at the very least buy a sim card for the duration of their stay.

“Interestingly, Boris Johnson has tweeted welcoming O2 and VirginMedia's decision. Will the UK PM be equally as effusive about the fact that German uber cheap supermarket Aldi have also announced this morning of their commitment to offer customers the lowest prices in 2022?

“This will also be very welcome news to those whose budgets are going to be severely stretched by rising prices for food and energy. For such those who are in the front-line of the 'cost of living' crisis, families on low income and pensioners, and a situation not being helped by the nature of the deal to leave the EU negotiated by Johnson, it's the immediate need to survive which is likely dominating thinking. 

“The costs of phone calls, texts and data used whilst on holiday in Europe, is likely to be regarded as irrelevant as getting away to the sun in the Mediterranean this year may simply be an unaffordable luxury.”