Brexit Update

Following the UK’s formal withdrawal of its membership from the European Union on 31 January 2020, a transition period has now commenced which should ensure a smooth winding-down of current EU-UK arrangements.  The transition period lasts until 31 December 2020 (subject to any further extension), and during this time the UK will continue to follow EU rules and regulations as if it were a Member State.  Any changes to EU legislation may apply to the UK.  This means that there should be no immediate changes for Irish consumers in respect of the existing rules for roaming, intra-EU communications, postal or premium rate services (PRS).  A further explanation continues below.

Impact of Brexit on Mobile Roaming

Up to 31 December 2020 there is no change to EU roaming arrangements. After this point, it would depend on the nature of the relationship agreed between the UK and the EU.

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

Since 15 May 2019, 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 is capped. This is in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1971.

Up to 31 December 2020 the maximum prices apply when making calls / SMS from Ireland to a fixed or mobile number in the UK.  After this point, it would depend on the nature of the relationship agreed between the UK and the EU.

We provide further details of intra-EU communications at the link www.comreg.ie/price-cap-for-calls-sms-text-messages-between-eu-states-intra-eu-communications/

Impact of Brexit on Postal Services to and from the UK

Up to 31 December 2020 there is no change for Postal Services to and from the UK. After this point, it would depend on the nature of the relationship agreed between the UK and the EU.

As the designated universal postal service provider in Ireland An Post has confirmed that it is appropriately planning for the impact on postal services arising when the UK has exited the EU (Brexit), including ongoing communications with the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and other key organisations.

Depending upon the final arrangements in place, there may be changes arising in packet and parcel postal services to and from the UK, particularly with regard to customs inspections and charges (including VAT) and customs documentation.  Information on this will be available on An Post’s website www.anpost.com/Brexit

Any other impact information will also be communicated in this medium.

An Post has also confirmed that its staff will be fully briefed on Brexit issues in regard to postal services and that it will have a communications plan in place for key customers and for postal service users which will outline the implications for all customers. Information on postal packet customs inspections and charges and customs declarations will also be available on the Revenue Commissioners website.

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

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.