Brexit Update

Following the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) formal withdrawal of its membership from the European Union on 31 January 2020, the transition period (which was in place until 31 December 2020) has now ended.  ComReg has set out below details for consumers of the impact of Brexit on the aspects of the sectors that ComReg has a regulatory role.

Impact of Brexit on Mobile Roaming

Since 15th June 2017, customers are charged the domestic retail price for using their mobile phone when travelling – this is referred to as Roam Like At Home (RLAH).

Now that the UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit has come to an end, Irish consumers are not entitled under EU law to the EU RLAH rates when travelling to the UK.  Notwithstanding this, ComReg understands that in many cases there will be no immediate changes for consumers.  It is advisable to contact your provider to check (confirm) the up-to-date prices that may apply and what mobile allowances apply when travelling in the UK.

Irrespective of the commercial approach taken by Irish mobile operators in 2021, mobile customers will continue to have legal protections around roaming, such as:

• being informed of any roaming charges they could incur if and when they use mobile devices outside of the EU (including in the UK post-Brexit);
• being alerted when charges are incurred or the data roaming cap (€61.50 including VAT) is reached;
• being informed about how to avoid inadvertent roaming;
• being notified if their contractual terms are changed.

ComReg, the independent telecoms regulator, will monitor compliance to ensure that operators abide by these obligations.

To assist consumers, ComReg has a detailed information page on mobile roaming www.comreg.ie/consumer-information/roaming/ which will continue to be updated with related developments.

Impact of Brexit on Intra-EU Communications

As of 15 May 2019, European law (Regulation (EU) 2018/1971 introduced price caps on the cost to Irish consumers for making calls or sending SMS text messages from Ireland to a fixed or mobile number in another EU Member State as below.

Irish consumers are charged a maximum amount of:

  • 19 cents (+VAT) per minute for calls made (including any connection charge) and
  • 6 cents (+VAT) for each SMS sent from Ireland to an EU Member State

Now that the UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit has come to an end, Irish consumers are not entitled under EU law to the same pricing for calling and sending SMS text messages to the UK. Notwithstanding this, ComReg understands that in many cases there will be no immediate changes, however it is advisable to contact your provider to check (confirm) the up-to-date prices that may apply when making calls or sending SMS text messages from Ireland to the UK.

Impact of Brexit on Postal Services to and from the UK

From 1 January 2021, the UK will be regarded as a country outside the EU for VAT and Customs Duty purposes related to parcels and packets arriving from (and sending to) the UK, and it is likely that there will be some changes to duties to be paid.

As the designated universal postal service provider in Ireland, An Post has confirmed that it has appropriate plans in place including postal service user communication plans for any impact on postal services arising from Brexit, from its implementation date on 1 January 2021.

For information and updates on Brexit issues relating to parcels and packets arriving from (and sending to) Great Britain and Northern Ireland through An Post, including the universal postal service,  please see the An Post website [opens external link].

Although ComReg has no regulatory role with regard to VAT and Customs Duties, the following information on its website may be of assistance www.comreg.ie/industry/postal-regulation/faqs/vat-and-customs-duties/

ComReg does not have a regulatory role for VAT and Customs Duty matters.  All related enquiries should be addressed to the Revenue Commissioners.

For further information for postal service providers regarding documentation, duty liability, duty payment / collection, and processing of duty payments, please refer to the Revenue Commissioners website [opens external link].

Impact of Brexit on Premium Rate Services (PRS)

Premium rate services, provided by companies based in the UK, should continue to operate and be available to Irish consumers post-Brexit. ComReg will continue to monitor compliance by all PRS providers including those outside the European Union with their regulatory obligations. Any implications for PRS providers themselves in respect of licence administration will be communicated directly to impacted providers.

 

ComReg will issue more guidance on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU once the details are known.