Travelling abroad? Don’t forget to check for roaming charges
With the summer upon us and more relaxed travel rules in place for visiting some countries, you may be looking to head abroad soon. But before you do, it’s important to be aware of any charges you could face for using your mobile phone when you’re outside the UK.
Since 31 December 2020, the EU rules on mobile roaming charges no longer apply in the UK. That means the amount your mobile provider can charge you for using your mobile phone in EU countries, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein is no longer capped.
Some mobile companies have recently announced changes to their charges for using your mobile when in the EU.
- EE has confirmed that from January 2022, customers joining or upgrading from 7 July this year will pay £2 a day to use their usual data allowances. This charge will not apply to customers when in the Republic of Ireland.
- O2 has announced a new 25 GB limit for customers traveling to the EU from 2 August 2021. Customers will pay £3.50 per GB after they have reached that limit.
- Three: From 23 May 2022 customers who have taken out a new contract or upgraded with Three from 1 October 2021 will pay a charge of £2 per day when roaming within the EU and £5 a day when roaming outside the EU. Pay-as-you-go customers and customers who have taken out a contract before 1 October 2021 are unaffected by these changes, as will customers roaming in the Republic of Ireland.
- Vodafone: From 6 January 2022, pay-monthly personal and small-business customers who join Vodafone, upgrade or change their plan on or after 11 August 2021 will pay a daily charge for using their phone in Vodafone’s European roaming zones. Customers whose Vodafone Pay monthly plan started before 11 August 2021 will pay no additional roaming charges as long as they stay on their current mobile plan. For other business customers, changes will come into effect from November, but charges will not start until 6 January 2022.
Ofcom does not have the power to prevent mobile companies from charging customers for using their services when travelling, but there are a number of measures in place to protect people from running up unexpectedly high bills.
Mobile companies must tell their customers about any contract changes. Where those changes will particularly disadvantage customers, companies must give customers at least a month’s notice and the right to exit their contracts without being penalised.
Providers must also publish details of roaming charges on their website and send you an alert with pricing information when you start roaming.
There is also a £45 (excluding VAT) per month cap on all roaming charges. Your provider will send you an alert once you reach 80% of this and another once you have reached the limit. After this, providers must stop charging for roaming unless you opt-in to continue.
So if you are travelling abroad it is important to check with your provider what charges you may have to pay, before you leave the UK.