Roaming Abroad 2019: Many UK networks now offering roaming in popular worldwide destinations at no extra cost!

International roaming is calling, texting or using data services – such as browsing the internet – while abroad. Before 2017, roaming a UK network in EU destinations was relatively expensive but new regulations means roaming abroad is the same as using your mobile at home, with no additional costs. This is now offered by all networks with pay monthly plans. However, the roaming schemes each network offers vary. Some networks are now offering additional countries outside of the EU as inclusive destinations – separating them from the other networks only offering EU roaming. In this article Half Cooked will run through the best networks for international roaming, ranking them in order of best to worst. Ranking is pretty straight forward, networks with the larger number of inclusive destinations, with the least amount of restrictions rank higher.

May 4th, 2019

Three

three roaming abroadPreviously known as ‘Feel At Home,’ Three’s Go Roam is the best roaming scheme available in the UK. Three gives their customers the ability to call, text and surf the internet outside the UK and in 71 destinations at no added cost. These destinations include 48 EU destinations and another 23 worldwide destinations. Some of these destinations include USA, Australia & Brazil.

As long as you’re on Three’s network (even on an Essential Plan) you will be able to access this service in the EU. But Three’s comprehensive roaming scheme in countries outside EU is exclusive to customers on an Advanced Plan.

While outside the UK, all texts and calls (incoming & outgoing) and data use are billed within your normal UK allowances.

However, there are some restrictions. You are only allowed to tether when you purchase a Data Passport and your data allowance cannot go over 19 GB. Also, your monthly allowance for calls back to the UK is 3000 minutes, and you can only send 5000 texts back.

You will also get access to 4G speed outside the EU but you are not allowed to call numbers starting with 070, 084, 087, 09 and 118. You can read more about the Three Go Roam proposition in our detailed review of the Three Network.

O2

o2 roaming abroadIn what O2 calls its ‘Europe Zone,’ EU roaming customers can use their UK allowances including calls, texts and data at no extra charge. And there are Travel add-ons for international roaming customers that give you an unlimited data allowance at several worldwide spots.

O2’s roaming scheme is similar to the other networks where customers won’t incur any extra charges when subscribed to premium SIM only plans and phone contracts.

A recent upgrade O2 dubs the Travel Inclusive Zone Bolt On allows you to roam in 75 destinations (including USA, Australia, and New Zealand) with a daily allowance of 120 minutes, 120 texts and data roaming. Customers with plans which are not eligible can still pay a fixed daily rate to get the service.

O2 is also well known for having their rewards app O2 priority, where customers get discounted & free meal deals, coffees & early access to exclusive tickets on a weekly basis. Check our out detailed O2 review to learn more.

Vodafone

vodafone roaming abroadVodafone customers can automatically roam in 48 EU destinations following the EU roaming regulation amendments which took effect from July 2017.

Customers can also roam in up to 77 destinations including the US and Canada if they subscribe to a premium plan called Vodafone Red Entertainment (the SIM only plans start at £20). Another option which allows you to use your home plan to roam further afield in 104 countries is billed at £6 per day.

Vodafone also offers 4G speeds when roaming and allows customers to utilize their total data allowance. But unlike Three customers must be on a premium plan which starts a minimum of £20.

EE

ee roaming abroadAs part of EU inclusive roaming plans, EE customers on pay monthly and pay as you go plans get to use their UK Allowances in 48 destinations.

The introduction of a new range of plans called 4GEE Max plans are available to new customers and will require an upgrade for existing customers. This will broaden their access further afield to 53 destinations around the world, including the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

EE also promises 4G connectivity in any country in which it is available. This is a perk that other networks used to rank lower in but it is becoming more and more common across all the networks.

EE has the fastest data speeds in the UK with access to Apple Music free of charge with certain plans – to learn more check out our EE review.

SKY Mobile

sky mobile roaming abroadSky Mobile comes 5th in our ranking with the Sky Roaming Passport scheme. Sky offers only EU roaming for all customers on pay monthly plans in 36 Europe Zone destinations.

Sky customers will also enjoy the same tariff on all calls (including landlines) and texts back to the UK if you have Unlimited Calls and Texts integrated into your plans.

Another major perk Sky Mobile offers in regards to roaming is that you will be able to use your rolled over data in any of the EU destinations it covers.

Sky Mobile lets you rolled over unused data for up to 3 years – learn more by reading our Sky Mobile article.

Tesco Mobile

tesco mobile roaming abroadTesco presents UK customers with roaming through its Home from Home proposition which works for all customers on pay as you go and pay monthly plans at no extra cost.

Tesco’s Home from Home works in 48 Europe Zone destinations. However, charges will apply as soon as you go further afield.

SMARTY

SMARTY roaming abroadFor no extra cost, you can make calls and send texts on the SMARTY network wherever you are in the EU. And this applies to all customers regardless of the plan they choose.

SMARTY roaming is available in 35 destinations, but customers do not get inclusive roaming for countries outside the EU. However, what’s needed to make international roaming in non-EU countries is a simple cash add-on.

Although SMARTY offers inclusive roaming in all EU countries on cheap and simple plans, roaming further afield becomes quite expensive.

SMARTY has the best rollover scheme according to our rankings – customers get money back on any unused data on their following bill.

BT Mobile

Bt mobile roaming abroadBT Mobile places first in several other aspects but it sits around the middle of our ranking list when it comes to roaming.

When it comes to inclusive EU roaming, BT Mobile has got you covered. BT Roam Like At Home works for all customers on pay monthly plans, in 47 destinations, and at no extra cost.

This scheme also includes destinations like Norway, Switzerland and Canary Islands. BT applies a fair usage that restricts your data allowance to 15 GB over a 60-day period, after which customers will be surcharged.

VOXI

voxi roaming abroadVOXI’s Europe Zone roaming is available in 48 countries, which allows your data, texts and calls to work as if you’re in the UK. But you also get access to unlimited social media abroad. But that only applies to Europe destinations. If you need to roam outside of EU, extra charges do apply.

VOXI sits around the middle in our rankings because the network offers what most other major networks do when it comes to EU roaming.

Roaming outside EU destinations will require a credit top-up which can get pretty expensive.

Plusnet

plusnet roaming abroadPlusnet’s Roam Like Home allows you to use your mobile plans in more than 40 EU countries just like you’re in the UK. This inclusive roaming plan can be enjoyed by pay as you go and pay monthly customers at no extra charge.

Plusnet does not offer roaming in destinations outside the EU and has a fair use policy that restricts data usage to 15 GB. If you have used up all your monthly UK allowance or make calls and texts to other worldwide destinations, you will also be charged.

giffgaff

giffgaff roaming abroadFor 37 destinations and counting, GiffGaff offers comprehensive roaming to customers on pay monthly plans. Pay as you go customers are also eligible for EU roaming. GiffGaff has plans that are relatively cheap and simple, and you can use your monthly goody bag on GiffGaff at no extra cost.

While in any of the EU destinations supported on the network, you’ll be able to use your monthly goodybag which includes data, calls and texts. But a 20 GB data per month usage restriction applies before extra charges kick in.

iD Mobile

id mobile roaming abroadiD Mobile offers inclusive roaming to all customers regardless of the plan you’re on. With roaming across 46 EU destinations and 4 other countries outside the Europe Zone, the service comes as standard.

Fair usage applies on data. Depending on plan and destination, data usage limits range between 12 GB and 15 GB. But iD Mobile is generally has some of the cheapest plans in the UK with an Open Data Policy.

iD Mobile currently have the cheapest SIM only plan in the UK at £3.99 – learn more by checking out our review.

Virgin Mobile

virgin mobile roaming abroadAlthough Virgin Mobile provides roaming in 43 countries across Europe, they have some of the most expensive roaming plans in the UK.

We rank Virgin last because it has more sneaky catches than any other networks in the UK when it comes to international roaming. The network restricts you from maximizing the use of your available data and you have to use a calculator to work out your available allowance depending on the destination you are visiting. After you exceed this amount – the costs can get pretty expensive.

Half Cooked’s Overall Winner

When it comes to international roaming, Three’s Feel At Home scheme comes out on top. Offering inclusive roaming for customers on all plans in more than 71 destinations (in the EU and worldwide), Three has the widest reach. The Feel At Home scheme is also has few restrictions – with advanced plan customers having access to its full benefits.

three roaming abroad