Insights Government makes Trade (Mobile Roaming) Regulations 2023


In July 2021, the Government signed a new trade deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to boost the digital, financial, and professional business services sectors and cut tariffs on British exports.

In September 2022, the Government signed a new agreement allowing UK mobile operators to offer their customers surcharge-free mobile roaming in Norway and Iceland by creating a mechanism to cap the rates operators charges each other. Liechtenstein was not party to the mobile roaming provisions due to its capacity. However, the agreement included an option for this to be extended to Liechtenstein at a future date.

The Government has now made the Trade (Mobile Roaming) Regulations 2023 to regulate international mobile roaming wholesale charges between the UK and Norway, and the UK and Iceland and meet the obligations that it signed up to in the trade deal it made with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein in 2021. The new legislation will come into force on 6 April 2023.

The 2023 Regulations introduce a cap only on the wholesale fees that mobile operators charge each other when a customer travels abroad and uses the mobile network of an operator in that territory. They do not cover retail charges, i.e. the fees that mobile operators charge their customers. The Government says that the focus is on wholesale because it is a cross-border international issue, whereas operators’ retail charges are a domestic matter.

The new legislation also grants Ofcom powers to enforce the caps on wholesale mobile roaming charges.

On signing the roaming agreement with Norway and Iceland in September 2022, the Government said that it would work with mobile operators to ensure that the savings secured from the cap are filtered down to consumers. To access the new legislation, click here.