O2 UK increases non-EU roaming charges
Telefónica’s O2 UK is to double roaming charges outside of Europe for its customers from November 28 and has announced plans to turn its shops into franchise operations as the group looks to reduce its £47 billion debt.
The roaming increases can be considered a bid by Telefónica to offset losses from roaming customers in the EU after strict limits put in place by the European Commission in July.
Prices will vary depending on the region with the cost of receiving a call in the US rising from 39p to 90p per minute and making a call from 90p to £1.10. The cost of texting also rose from 25p to 40p and data will be charged at £6 per megabyte.
In Asia-Pacific, making a call will cost customers 80p per minute, up from 60p/minute and receiving calls will rise from 43p to 80p. Sending a text in the region will rise from 10p to 40p.
Customers travelling in the 'rest of the world' category will pay the most with making a call rising from £1.20 to £1.50 and receiving a call rising from 85p to £1.25. The cost of texting will remain the same at 40p per message.
Non-EU European nations such as Cyprus, Turkey and the Ukraine will be classed in the rest of the world category for call charging
"This is the first time we have changed these prices in over five years and we’ve ensured they remain competitive,” said an O2 spokesman.
Under regulation set out by the European Commission, operators cannot charge customers more than 24p per minute, down from 30p, and 7p per text, down from 10p. Data prices have been capped at 58p per megabyte down from the £6 O2 is still charging elsewhere.
In a separate announcement this week O2 said that it will turn almost half of its shops into franchise operations.
The operator will offer 82 of its shops to local entrepreneurs to run in return for investments of up to £500,000 each in a bid to free up cash to reinvest in the business. By the middle of next year over 200 of O2’s 462 shops will become franchises.