Friday, 23 June 2017

Finance Fridays – EU Mobile Roaming Charges

We were looking at the benefits of switching bank accounts for last week's Finance Fridays. This week we are thinking about our summer holidays and the subject of mobile phone costs. Some people can be very wary about using their mobile phones abroad for either making calls, sending texts or using mobile internet data. Last week the rules changed so let's see what it all means.

The Brexit talks may be in progress but for the time being the UK is still in the EU and therefore can benefit from the scrapping of EU roaming charges that came into force on 15th June 2017. Previously travellers with UK phones could be subject to extortionate roaming charges for using their mobiles within the EU – in particular for downloading large items such as films. Now whatever is included in your current tariff or plan for UK use can be used in the same way when you are travelling in the EU.

Check the country you are visiting is part of the EU. There are 28 countries currently in the EU. At present Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein aren't included in the roaming data but will be soon.

Some providers have also updated their terms and conditions and now allow the same deal in other non-EU countries. If you're on an EE 4GEE Max Plan they have extended it to 53 destinations including Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and USA. For 02 customers their 'Europe Zone' covers over 40 countries. Vodafone have introduced 'Global Roaming' which takes in 110 destinations worldwide. The 'Feel at Home in Europe and Around the World' on Three is available on Advanced Plans for over 60 countries.

Do not exceed your tariff limits for data - your provider will charge you as normal for exceeding them. Also be aware that if you have an unlimited tariff your provider may impose a 'fair usage' but they should inform you what the limit is and when you reach it. This is usually by text message.

Calling another EU country while you are in the UK will still be subject to your provider's standard price for calling abroad.

After Brexit? As this rule change is an European regulation and not a directive it does not form part of UK law. It will be something else that will need to be sorted out...

Do you use your mobile abroad? Have you been caught out by roaming charges?

Mobile phone provider deals correct at time of publishing. Please check with your provider before using your mobile abroad.

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