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Three follows Vodafone and EE in bringing back mobile roaming charges in Europe

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Three has followed Vodafone and EE and become, ironically, the third UK mobile phone company to bring back roaming charges in Europe.

We covered EE’s introduction of roaming charges here and Vodafone’s introduction of roaming charges here.

From 23rd May 2022, Three will charge to use your existing minutes and data allowance in Europe. This applies to contracts signed or upgraded from 1st October 2021, so if you sit tight on your current deal you will not be impacted.

Three shop front

The changes are outlined on the Three website here in a press release which states that “there are now too many unknowns” to continue offering it for free. This is despite the fact that Three offered free roaming in many countries in Europe and worldwide before the EU directive ever came into affect.

A lot of Three’s customers will have joined the network in order to enjoy free roaming despite the shaky mobile signal in many parts of the UK.. Now that the benefit is being scrapped many are likely to look at other networks which have better UK coverage.

The new charges will be:

  • £2 per day in the EU (the same as EE and Vodafone will charge, by amazing coincidence)
  • £5 per day outside the EU

It is worth noting that EE and Vodafone will begin charging in January, so Three customers get an additional four months of free roaming.

‘Pay As You Go’ customers are not impacted by this change.

If you are currently under contract with Three, you will not pay until after your next contract renewal. Any contracts renewed during September will continue to include free roaming after 22nd May where it is a published benefit – it will only be added to the T&C on contracts issued from 1st October.

Three Brexit Bus
That didn’t last long – “if the law changes we’ll give you free EU roaming just the same”…

Don’t believe what you read on buses…

O2 – the remaining holdout – has said that it has no plans to reintroduce roaming charge. It is introducing a ‘fair use’ cap of 25GB per month in the EU, with additional charges for any usage above this level.

Under the Brexit trade agreement, it was stated that the UK and EU would “co-operate on promoting transparent and reasonable rates” for mobile charges but no guarantees were made on roaming charges. At the time, the four major UK mobile networks said that they had no intention to introduce roaming charges which may have influenced the Government in deciding not to push for including it in law.

You can read more on the Three website here.

Comments (140)

  • JMP says:

    I’ll have to admit, branding 3UK with their “shaky signal” when all networks suffer with poor coverage in some areas of the UK, I even have proper examples when other networks are clearly beaten by 3 in certain usage scenarios by the other mobile networks.

    Making the assumption that people only use them for roaming and nothing else is also a bit of a reach in terms of the article presentation.

    I agree 3 in it’s early days did have poor coverage because of how the network was built and the equipment, but most of the time they are equal if not better (and worse) in some respects, I’ve seen people move to 3 from allegedly better networks – because of better coverage and value for money.

    As for roaming fees, regardless of what caused the re-introduction (Brexit is done – get over it or simple economics) is disappointing but looks like I need to get a local SIM and with a large majority of phones being unlocked or a second phone easier to buy, that’s the solution I see people taking as it’s much easier.

    • Rhys says:

      Even people that use Three (including me!) agree that Three has pretty shaky signal. I didn’t make this up, it reflects the general consensus to Three’s network 🙂

      You just have to read the comments to see how many people use Three for their roaming benefits. This might not be true of the general population but it certainly seems true for HfP readers!

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