Mobile phone users urged to check if they face extra fees when travelling to Europe as roaming fees are re-introduced
- Roaming charges are being re-introduced for millions this year
- Both EE and Vodafone will charge customers travelling to Europe
- We reveal top tips on how to avoid facing a hefty bill
Travellers are being urged to check whether they face extra fees this year as roaming charges return to several mobile phone networks.
Two of the UK’s four biggest networks, EE and Vodafone, are reintroducing roaming charges for customers travelling to Europe this month.
Three is also set to reintroduce them in May 2022.
From January 1, customers who joined or upgraded with EE after July 7 2021 will face a £2 daily charge for using their data, making calls, or sending text messages in EU countries.
Consumers are urged to check whether they could face mobile roaming charges this year
Meanwhile, the same fee will apply to Vodafone customers who joined the network, upgraded or renewed their contract after August 11 2021.
Three will bring in the £2 daily charge on May 23 which will be applicable to customers who joined the network or upgraded after October 1 2021.
Both EE and Vodafone will offer alternatives to avoid the fee with EE customers able to buy a 30-day Roam Abroad Pass for £10 and Vodafone users able to pay £1 a day for an eight or 15-day multipass.
The return of roaming fees follows the UK’s departure from the EU, with roaming charges removed for people moving around Europe in 2017.
Before Brexit, EU roaming regulations meant you could use your monthly allowances of calls, data and texts while you were in 28 destinations in the EU for no extra charge.
Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at Uswitch, said: ‘Many mobile users who are travelling to Europe in 2022 will have to endure the added cost of roaming charges, with EE and Vodafone reintroducing their fees from January.
‘If you’re an existing customer of EE, Vodafone or Three, check your contract to see whether these charges apply to you. If you signed up prior to specific dates, you should be safe.
‘When it comes to travelling, don’t leave it until the last minute to check the roaming charges for your destination, and use hotel and cafe Wi-Fi when on holiday where possible, ensuring any public access points are safe and secure before logging on.’
Those travelling further than Europe could find they also face high costs.
Costs differ from country to country, but some popular destinations such as UAE and Morocco are known to be particularly pricey.
Both EE and Vodafone are reintroducing roaming charges for customers travelling to Europe
How to avoid roaming charges
This is Money, with the help of Uswitch, has put together tips on how to avoid high roaming charges.
1. Use free Wi-Fi whenever you can: Many hotels and restaurants now offer wireless internet free of charge.
It’s worth noting, however, that some only offer the service free for a limited period, after which time charges apply.
2. Check if your network offers a roaming add-on: Most carriers offer the chance to pay a little bit extra and get an add-on that will provide you an allowance of data, texts and minutes to use abroad.
If you pay for these, you’ll only pay the price of the add-on and won’t be liable for charges outside that.
3. Don’t opt out of your networks’ usage caps: After years of bill shocks, most UK networks enforce an automatic cap on data usage worldwide which typically comes in at between £40 and £49.
4. Consider buying a local SIM: To keep the cost of calls and texts messages down, it’s a good idea to buy a local SIM card and top up with pay-as-you-go credit.
To use a local SIM you will need an unlocked handset.
5. Check whether your destination is bound by EU regulations: It might surprise you which countries aren’t bound to abide by EU usage caps. Turkey, Northern Cyprus and Egypt are all popular destinations that are outside the EU.
Charges in Switzerland also vary on a network to network basis.