On 31 December 2020, the Transition Period (sometimes also referred to as the “Implementation Period”) under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement will come to an end. The end of the Transition Period will bring an end to the current status quo whereby Gibraltar, its citizens and its business, have enjoyed EU rights. Therefore, subject to the outcome of ongoing negotiations concerning the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU, the end of the Transition Period will bring about important changes which Gibraltar, as a whole, will need to be ready for.
Gibraltar’s departure from the European Union means that certain processes and procedures will inevitably become more difficult, cumbersome and bureaucratic. It is important that citizens and businesses are aware of this and that, where possible, they plan ahead. The Government can only prepare in areas that are within its control. Even then, there will be certain areas where mitigation is not possible because the new situation simply reflects what it means to be outside the European Union.
The purpose of this Notice is to explain what the effect of those changes are in relation to roaming on public mobile communications networks established in the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (collectively referred to as the “EU and the EEA”).
If there is no agreement with respect to the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU by 31 December 2020
If there is no agreement with respect to the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU, surcharge-free roaming, which is currently guaranteed under EU law until 31 December 2020, will no longer be guaranteed as from 1 January 2021 for customers of Gibraltar mobile network providers when they travel to the EU and the EEA.
However, even though this guarantee under EU law would come to an end, Gibraltar mobile network providers would still be able to preserve or renew private, commercial arrangements with providers established in the EU or the EEA to be able to continue to offer “roam like at home” arrangements for their customers post-31 December 2020. In this context, the public should note that Gibtelecom have already confirmed that they have no current plans to change their mobile roaming policies. Moreover, because of the commercial arrangements which Gibtelecom already have in place, Gibtelecom customers should not be subject to any new charges when roaming in the EU or the EEA as from 1 January 2021. Should the position change in future, Gibtelecom will provide their customers with advance warning.
The same applies with respect to the position in the UK where Gibtelecom have similar arrangements with UK mobile network providers.
If there is an agreement with respect to the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU by 31 December 2020.
Negotiations with respect to the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU are ongoing. Should an agreement be reached, it is possible that this agreement may include arrangements on mobile roaming charges. HM Government of Gibraltar remains hopeful that such an agreement can be reached and the Government is working towards ensuring that any such arrangements are extended to Gibraltar.
This Notice is meant for guidance only.
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