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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.

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.

What will O2 do?

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 (137)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Dave says:

    So just checked my sim only contract and it expires November 2022. Does that until then I get free roaming but afterwards I have to pay?

    • Matty says:

      Yes, nothing will change during your existing contract.

      • AndyS says:

        what if you don’t renew but just keep it rolling – this isn’t a new contract so is roaming still free ?

        • KBuffett says:

          Three have a tendency to force you onto a current tariff and discontinuing a current one. However, you will get some mileage about out of it until they decide to do that.

  • AndyS says:

    Is the flat fee the only option. Like many others I got three for free roaming in USA but before that didn’t mind sending the odd SMS (even at 50p) – now if I wanted to send a single SMS it would trigger the £5 roaming charge? Surely there should still be a pay as used option !!

  • Brian says:

    I would have thought the scrapping of PCR tests in the news yesterday deserved to replace this article!

    • Rob says:

      I suppose we could run a speculative article speculating on other speculative articles but I am struggling to see the merit in that ….

      These articles all made it clear that no decision is taken until a few days before the announcment date.

      • Brian P says:

        I love Head for Points. I do find the “editorial line” on brexit a little tiring: ” don’t believe everything you see written on a bus”… There were some great reasons to stay and some really strong reasons to leave. There was no moral high ground in voting either way. I find the constant sneering on the outcome equivalent to a petulant child.

        If we wanted an holistic view on roaming costs one would benchmark EU contract costs vs. UK costs (much lower in UK), and the cost subsidy provided by poor non roamers to richer business people and frequent travellers (no roaming costs is a subsidy from poor non travellers to travellers).

        A potential useful article: is it now worth getting an EU sim when visiting for data, or is the relative cost of this a price cap on the £2 per day roaming fee?

        I am on o2 😉

        • Rhys says:

          When you make big statements on the side of buses expect them to come back to haunt you 🙂 no sneering, just accountability!

          • CarpalTravel says:

            Particularly when it was at the bottom of a contradictory press release! Still laughing at that.

        • CarpalTravel says:

          The constant point scoring, name calling, jeering. (Both sides)

          Yes, I think it safe to say that few have won out of all this and most do look like children. Particularly those who seem to relish and hope at the idea of the UK now failing, as if that in some way proving a point is far more important than economic and social collapse.

          • iamfugly says:

            Remind me….was that the only bus we saw!?

          • bafan says:

            Brexit has been a disaster. It’s not points scoring. Nothing the Brexit campaign said has come true. I just feel sorry for the people who fell for the lies. At least the Americans could and voted the liar out.

        • A says:

          Hardly point scoring its just reporting on reality. Baffled as to why it triggers some people.

          I can see the value in comparing eu or int sims (or truphone esims) but
          why would a travel website be doing a holistic view on roaming costs??

  • KBuffett says:

    Although not roaming related, it might be useful to note that Three and Vodafone are the only networks that offer plans with truly unlimited data.

  • Lee says:

    Gave up on 3 long ago. Now with Vodafone and get great roaming around the world including USA & Canada.

    Yes it costs more, but to be able to stream data with no issues is great.

    • James Harper says:

      I may well have the same Vodafone plan and I agree, it’s great. On renewal, it is projected to rise by 55% for the same benefits! A benefit of Brexit.

  • KBuffett says:

    Any recommendations for a dial through service or app to make occasional international calls from my mobile?

  • Marcelo says:

    My contract would expire only by mid-October but managed to renew it yesterday for 2 years, paying £8 for 12GB and keeping the Go Roam offer.

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    VOXI still have free EU roaming and a few extra countries. Run by Vodafone so so really good coverage. Refer a friend offer too

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