Has there ever been a more divisive topic than Brexit? Since February 2016, when David Cameron announced that there would be a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, there have been few days, if any, where Brexit hasn’t featured prominently in the mainstream media.
Furthermore, unless we hear otherwise, the UK will formally leave the EU on March 29, 2019. While it won’t be known exactly how this will impact businesses on either side of the English Channel, not until a deal (or no deal) is agreed between the UK Parliament and Brussels, this date does mean that certain things are inevitable.
It will cost more to travel
While it’s likely to involve just a small fee, it will cost more money to travel from the UK to EU countries, nonetheless. At the time of writing, it is understood that British travellers to popular tourist destinations such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece will have to pay roughly €7 to buy a short-term visa for summer breaks and long weekends in Europe.
It’s tough to predict how the British pound will compare to the euro after Brexit, so how much more or less expensive holidays themselves will be remains unknown. It’s anticipated that the pound will fall more significantly in a no-deal scenario than if a deal is agreed, so it remains to be seen how much more, or less, we’ll end up spending on holidays overall.
There will, however, be a rise in the fees incurred for using mobile phones abroad. In June 2017, roaming charges for making telephone calls and using internet data in EU countries were scrapped, meaning an end to shock bills after a holiday or long break. However, with the UK leaving the EU, the longest this trend will continue is until the end of 2020.
Mobile calls will cost more
Still, post-Brexit, UK mobile networks will immediately be able to apply roaming charges again if they wish to do so. Being out of the EU’s digital single market, they will also be outside of EU law and not required to abide by the abolishment of roaming charges. Similarly, EU mobile operators wouldn’t be required to let UK operators use their roaming services for free.
How much more calls will cost, or when they will become more expensive, isn’t yet known. When the country’s future relationship with the European Union is agreed, issues like these (and many, many more!) will become much clearer, hopefully. As you’ll have read many times, the worst-case scenario for both the UK and EU— and everyone on either side of the divide — is the damage a ‘no-deal’ scenario could cause to growth.
If GDP is to suffer significantly, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see many businesses, including mobile phone companies, either charging more for their services or taking advantage of any regulatory loopholes they can find. For UK businesses that rely on calling EU countries, it is obviously a massive issue, and many business owners are already rethinking their telephony strategy.
Companies like Planet Numbers make the prospect of calling internationally, even in uncertain times, much easier to plan for. With standard rates for international calls, and the prospect of switching an entire phone system to a broadband network, this modern method of business telephony is one smart way to save money, however Brexit unfolds.