UKE monitors changes in roaming in connection with Brexit
23 December 2020
The President of UKE monitors the market situation in connection with changes in the price lists of certain mobile operators. They are related to the end of the transition period in relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
From 1 January 2021, the rules for the provision of roaming services in the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland), as well as international calling services and sending SMS messages from Poland to users from the United Kingdom will change. These changes may affect the rights and obligations of subscribers - both existing and those concluding contracts after January 1, 2021. Therefore, in the opinion of the President of UKE, it is extremely important that roaming providers operating in Poland fulfil their obligations in a reliable and transparent manner to protect end-users.
Actions of the President of UKE
Bearing in mind the correct implementation of these obligations, the President of UKE monitors the market situation and analyses the actions taken by individual suppliers in order to evaluate them in terms of possible violations of national law and EU regulations. In addition, due to the currently signalled doubts regarding the scope of fulfilment of obligations regarding end users, the President of UKE publicly presents the position constituting a continuation of communication with four mobile operators since 2019 in connection with the process of the United Kingdom leaving from the structures of the European Union.
Provision of services after January 1, 2021
At the end of the transition period, the United Kingdom will become a third country for the purposes of EU rules on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the European Union (Regulation (EU) 531/2012). Therefore, from 1 January 2021, the limits on the amount of additional charges for regulated roaming services provided for in Art. 6a-6e of Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 are not applicable to roaming services in the United Kingdom. The "Roam like at Home" principle, i.e. the provision of services without additional charges in addition to the domestic price, will no longer apply. Roaming rates in third countries, including the United Kingdom, are determined by service providers on the basis of transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criteria (Article 61 (1) and (2) of the Telecommunications Law).
Change in terms of contracts concluded before January 1, 2021
The mere fact of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU or the end of the transition period does not necessitate the modification of the price of roaming services provided in the United Kingdom, as set out in the contract for the provision of telecommunications services concluded before the withdrawal date.
The price of the provision of roaming services in the United Kingdom, including the amount of any of its elements, i.e. the amount of additional charges for the use of services, as well as other contractual provisions relating to the provision of roaming services in the United Kingdom, may only take place in accordance with the principles set out in Art. 60a sec. 1 of the Telecommunications Law and 61 sec. 5 of the Telecommunications Law, i.e .:
a) maintaining the manner and form of information on changing the terms of the contract, including the price list, specified in art. 60a sec. 1 and art. 61 sec. 5 of the Telecommunications Law, i.e. by publication on the website and, in the case of a written, electronic or documentary contract, providing information about the change in a form corresponding to the form in which the contract was concluded, unless the subscriber has submitted a request for delivery to the indicated e-mail address, in the case of other contracts, by sending to the correspondence address provided;
(b) at least one month in advance of the implementation of the amendments;
c) along with the submission of a proposal to amend the terms of the contract, the subscriber should also be informed that when exercising the right to terminate the contract in the event of non-acceptance of the amendment to the terms of the contract or an increase in the prices of the provider of publicly available telecommunications services, he/she shall not be entitled to a refund of the allowance referred to in Art. 57 sec. 6 of the Telecommunications Law.
Roaming service providers are required, in the case of services provided in third countries, to fulfil their obligations to inform their customers about the amount of roaming charges for the services provided, as specified in Art. 14 and 15 of Regulation (EU) 531/2012, which will continue to apply to providers when roaming in the UK after the end of the transition period.
Further actions of the President of UKE
From the beginning of January, the President of UKE will exercise his rights under the Telecommunications Law, with a view to protecting subscribers. An in-depth analysis of the fulfilment of all obligations arising from legal provisions by mobile operators providing services will be conducted, with the use of means and tools within the competence of the President of UKE.