alertify

Explore the world with Alertify. Get roaming news, tips, and the tech to travel without limits.

Follow Us

GO UP
brits roaming abroad

Brits could face a phone bill of £787 for a week’s holiday in certain destinations when roaming abroad

As of 1 January 2021, the date when Brexit officially came into action, UK mobile phone users no longer receive free roaming service in the EU by law. Since that date, most major networks have either reintroduced roaming costs, announced a date when roaming costs will return, or pledged to keep roaming free for their customers. brits roaming abroad

SIM card e SIM shop

New Uswitch report has revealed that holidaymakers could face sky-high fees of up to £787 a week for using their mobile phones abroad this summer.

British mobile networks have made headlines this year for bringing back roaming charges in Europe, following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Thankfully, roaming costs for an entire week in an EU country average less than £14 and are free for O2 and Virgin Media subscribers.
But according to comparison website Uswitch, fees for farther-off destinations can pile up quickly.
Depending on whatever cell network they use, visitors visiting major tourist locations like Egypt and Morocco, as well as South America, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, run the danger of accruing the highest costs.

the roaming red list

 

This means that a holidaymaker using 1GB of data, making 20 minutes of calls and sending ten texts a day could end up with a £787 bill.

After leaving the EU, the UK government introduced a worldwide roaming data cap of £45 a month to help travellers avoid huge bills.

Without this data cap, holidaymakers in Egypt using 1GB of data a day could potentially run up a bill of more than £50,000 in a week. Once they hit the cap, however, customers will be unable to use any more data.

Uswitch found that an O2 mobile user visiting Morocco would hit the £45 limit after using just 6MB of data, (based on O2’s cost of £7.20 a MB) – barely enough to browse three web pages.

A huge variation in charges between providers means British tourists visiting Turkey can pay just £2 a day with Sky Mobile to access their full mobile plan allowance, while those on EE would need to spend over £20 to get a similar deal.

Check out what each network offers:

Network roaming policy
Who does it apply to?
Cost
Destinations covered
Fair usage (applies if data tariff is above amount mentioned)
Three Go Roam
Customers who signed up or upgraded after 1 October 2021
£2 per day for EU countries, £5 for some countries outside of the EU
71 destinations
12GB fair usage limit
Vodafone EU destinations
Customers who signed up or upgraded after 11 August 2021
£2 per day to use your UK plan
48 destinations
25GB. £3.13 charge for each subsequent gigabyte used past limit
Vodafone Rest of the world
All customers on new pay monthly plans
£6 per day to use your UK plan
104 destinations
25GB. £3.13 charge for each subsequent gigabyte used past limit
EE
Customers who signed up or upgraded after 7 July 2021
£2 per day to use your UK plan
53 destinations
25GB. £6 charge for each subsequent gigabyte used past limit
O2 Europe Zone Usage
All customers on new pay monthly plans (not PAYG)
None
47 Europe Zone destinations
10GB. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming zone over 120-day period
O2 Full Travel Bolt-On
Select phone-and-tariff plans on 4GB or 15GB or above
None
75 destinations worldwide
10GB. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming zone over 120-day period
Tesco Mobile Home from Home
All customers on pay monthly or PAYG plans
None
48 Europe Zone destinations
12GB. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming over 120-day period
Plusnet Mobile Roam Like Home
All customers on pay monthly or PAYG plans
None
52 Europe Zone destinations
15GB. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming over 120-day period
Sky Roaming Passport
All customers on pay monthly plans
None
36 Europe Zone destinations
None
BT Roam Like at Home
All customers on pay monthly plans
None
47 destinations
15GB. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming zone over 120-day period
iD Mobile Roam Like at Home
All customers on pay monthly plans
None
52 destinations
Only applies to some SIM only customers. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming zone over 120-day period
SMARTY roaming
All customers
None
35 destinations
Not specified

The UK government’s data cap does not cover calls and texts, which can be particularly expensive outside the EU.

A Virgin Mobile customer visiting Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, UAE or Saudi Arabia will be charged £5 per minute for making a call or checking their voicemail, and 60p for sending a text.

brits roaming abroad

A survey of 2,000 UK people found that while 1 in 7 (or 16%) worried about hefty costs upon return, a quarter of mobile users (24%) have no idea how much using their phone abroad will cost.

‘Millions of Brits will soon be enjoying a hard-earned holiday abroad, and thoughts about the cost of using their mobile will be far from their mind,’ said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at Uswitch. ‘For many, it will be their first foreign holiday since EU roaming fees returned, so it’s important to remember that you’re now likely to face extra charges for using your phone.’ brits roaming abroad

Some providers like Vodafone let customers use their domestic monthly allowance of calls, texts and data while on holiday outside the EU for £6 a day.

This means a week’s break will cost no more than £42 in the 156 destinations Vodafone covers.

However, some popular destinations are excluded from overseas data, call or text bundles.

For example, consumers travelling to Egypt face charges of up to £7.20 a MB for data, calls costing £5 a minute, and texts billed at 60p each. brits roaming abroad

 

Like this? "Sharing is caring!"