Britons are not facing the possibility of sharp rises in charges for phone use on the European continent after the UK leaves with the EU, the boss of Vodafone said today.
Concerns have been voiced that Brexit would lead to customers being slapped with hikes in call costs.
But Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao said today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona such increases would be "not very logical".
Earlier this month, a leaked European parliament report indicated British tourists would have to pay roaming charges once the UK formally exits the EU, unless bilateral terms can be agreed.
After several years of negotiations, the European Commission said that from June “consumers will be able to call, send SMS or surf on their mobile at the same price they pay at home”.
But the leaked report prompted remain campaigners to cite another reason Brexit would hit British consumers.
“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," said Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.
However, Colao felt a precedent had already been set that would mitigate the reintroduction of high roaming charges.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Colao said:
We treat Switzerland, which is not part of the EU, as part of it so why would we not treat the UK that way?
Investment and M&A
Meanwhile, Colao urged European authorities to do more to help telecoms firms by cutting spectrum costs, freeing up investment capital, and giving the green light to M&A activity.
Read more: Vodafone in £10bn Indian merger talks
He said the current regulatory framework undermined the ability for the sector to productively invest in new technology.
"There continues to be a missing element in the debate: the awareness of how much investment is needed and how low the returns are," Colao said, according to reports by Reuters.
We are celebrating the death of roaming but nobody has figured out how to replace revenues for telcos.
"Big deals are getting done in the US while in Europe small deals are being blocked."