Let’s have a look at one of the best international roaming schemes in the UK, which comes at no extra cost! Three’s Go Roam is available in 71 destinations worldwide!
Unlimited Data for only £11 a month for the first 6 months, the cheapest unlimited data deal in the market! This 24 month contract gives you access to 5G speeds & access to Three’s reward app Three+, which includes discounts on Uber Eats and at selected restaurants.
Using your mobile phone when abroad can lead to extortionate extra charges. Since the EU roaming regulation changes, you can use your UK allowances in the EU and also in some other European countries, but some networks push even further and Three is one of them.
Three’s Go Roam allows you to use your call, text and data allowance in 71 destinations around the world at no extra cost. However, there are some fair usage limits and you may not get the fastest data speeds at all times. It all depends where you’re travelling but we’ll go through all of that detail in this article.
Three Go Roam is made up of two schemes: Go Roam Europe & Go Roam Around the World. All Three plans come with Go Roam Around the World, which includes Go Roam in Europe. Three’s Go Roam is one of the best international roaming features a UK customer can get, especially given how you don’t have to pay any extra fees.
In this article, we’ll also have a look at Three’s network coverage & data speeds, available price plans, and what other alternative roaming deals are on the market.
For pay monthly customers Three Go Roam works automatically in all 71 Go Roam destinations, provided you switched on the data roaming feature of your handset. Pay As You Go customers, however, have to activate their SIM and make a chargeable action (getting online, making a call, sending a text) before leaving the UK.
When you arrive in a Go Roam destination, Three will send you a short text explaining the roaming costs in that country.
While you can use your UK allowances in 71 destinations around the world, there are some fair usage limits you should be aware of. Also keep in mind that Go Roam is designed to be used for periodic travel, like holidays or business trips. The network has a set of rules for prolonged periods of roaming. These rules differ for Go Roam in Europe and Go Roam Around the World.
There are no fair use limits for making calls or sending texts within Three’s Go Roam Europe destinations, you get unlimited calls and texts just like you do in the UK. You can also use your allowances to call and text between other Go Roam in Europe destinations. As for data, you are only allowed to use up to 20GB at no extra cost. After that, surcharges will apply.
Three will monitor your actions when you’re abroad and the carrier has the right to add surcharges to your roaming usage, if you spend most of your time abroad in European destinations and consume more in these locations than you do at home over the course of a four month period. The network caps the surcharges at a maximum of 3p/min, 1p/SMS and 0.3p/MB for pay monthly customers. For PAYG customers surcharges will be: 10p/min, 10p/SMS and 0.5/MB.
Three will send you a warning message two weeks before applying extra charges. You’ll have a chance to modify your roaming behaviour.
Go Roam Around the World comes with significantly greater restrictions. Three won’t allow you to use more than 12GB of data per month in Go Roam Around the World destinations, even if your data allowance is greater than 12GB.
There’s also a fair usage limit when it comes to making calls and sending texts in these destinations. You can use up to 3000 minutes and 5000 texts back to the UK per month. This feature does not include calls or texts to international numbers.
Three will suspend their international roaming services on your account, if you spend more than two complete months in a Go Roam Around the World destination, meaning your Three SIM won’t work abroad anymore. You’re allowed to spend two complete months abroad, but at least some of the time in this period must be outside in a non Rest of the World destination. If you can mix it up, Three won’t apply any restrictions.
If Three suspends your SIM’s international roaming services, but you have returned to the UK, make sure to contact and inform them that you’re back. The network will unblock your devices roaming feature after confirming the changes.
Keep in mind that tethering isn’t allowed in Go Roam Around the World destinations.
If you want unrestricted & unlimited data, Three offers an add-on called Data Passport. This add-on gives you the freedom to use your mobile internet however you like for £5/day. The Data Passport works in the UK and 89 other destinations across the world. The add-on resets at midnight UK time, so be careful and time your purchase right if you’re planning to get it.
You can also tether freely when you have the data passport. This add-on is only available to Three’s pay monthly customers.
The Data Passport works in these destinations:
Aland Islands, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Azores, Balearic Islands, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guernsey, Hong Kong Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Madeira, Malta, Malaysia, Martinique, Mayotte, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Réunion, Romania, Russia, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Netherlands, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, US Virgin Islands, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA, Vatican City & Vietnam.
Three is the only major network operator in the UK without a 2G service. While 2G is an old technology standard for cellular networks, it still has its uses when it comes to voice calls and texts depending on the region.
Three’s 4G &3G population coverage is over 99%, but landmass coverage matters more and unfortunately, Three is significantly behind with 79% UK geographical coverage.
The carrier’s 4G data speeds are strong though. According to Open Signal’s 2020 speed test results, Three’s average 4G download speeds are around 22.2Mbps and the network’s upload speeds are around 8Mbps. These speeds are decent enough for streaming full HD videos and listening to music. You can even stream 4K videos on YouTube and other video platforms if you’re getting a steady 25Mbps.
However, when you’re abroad your download speeds are usually restricted, because Three wants to ensure all customers can benefit from roaming at no extra cost. You might want to purchase the Data Passport, if you want the fastest available download speeds when you’re abroad.
In terms of 4G coverage and data speeds, there is no better network than EE in the UK. The carrier’s population coverage is over 95% and they have the fastest 4G download speeds with an average of 36.4Mbps. Their upload speeds are also faster than all the other networks with 9.1Mbps on average. See our EE Review to discover more about the carrier.
If you wish to see which network comes out on top between these two, you might want to check out our extensive EE vs Three comparison.
This is where Three is leading the market. The network operator has the fastest average 5G download speeds with 201Mbps (as per OOKLA’s October 2020 speed test results) and they also have the most 5G spectrum (140MHz) in the country. If you’re wondering, Vodafone has 50MHz and EE & O2 both have 40MHz available for 5G.
Unfortunately, Three’s 5G is only available in 193 cities and towns so far, but the number is constantly increasing. Three’s doesn’t offer 5G outside the UK, but Vodafone and VOXI do. Make sure to have a look at our Vodafone Review and VOXI Review to see where they offer 5G Coverage in Europe.
Another great thing about the network’s 5G service is it’s completely free, even for traditional pay as you go customers. In order to enjoy superfast 5G data speeds, you’ll need a 5G ready handset and also be in an area with Three’s 5G coverage. Make sure to read our Three Review to learn more about the network’s 5G SIM Only deals. You can also check out Three’s 5G Mobile Broadband or Home Broadband offers, if you’re looking for a replacement for your fixed broadband.
The quality of voice calls you’ll be making will depend on the region and the service you’ll be getting at your destination. Unfortunately, iIt’s almost impossible to give a general idea what the quality will be like. Having said that, you should normally get good enough coverage anywhere in the world, minus indoor blackspots and rural areas.
Tethering refers to sharing your mobile data with other compatible devices by turning your handset into a personal hotspot.
You can tether freely in all the Go Roam in Europe destinations, however, you’re not allowed to tether and share your mobile data with other devices in Go Roam Around the World destinations. If you wish to turn your device into a personal hotspot, you’ll have to purchase Three’s Data Passport, which is priced at £5/day and is valid until midnight, UK time.
Tethering eats up your data at a much faster rate, so we don’t recommend sharing your data when you’re abroad, unless it’s necessary. Don’t forget to turn it off once you’re done tethering as some apps may still use data even when you’re not actively using your device.
4G Calling eliminates most indoor blackspots and voice calls you make over 4G are much clearer. Your device uses your network’s 4G service to make calls when you have this feature turned on. You will also have access to 4G data speeds, even when you’re on a call.
Wi-Fi Calling will only work if you’re already connected to a Wi-Fi network with internet access. This feature keeps your handset connected, even when you’re not getting any phone signal.
Unfortunately, these two features aren’t available for international roaming. It’s not just Three though. The use of 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling whilst roaming are prohibited and they’re not supported, but in certain circumstances they may work whilst abroad. However, if you somehow get them to work, additional charges may apply.
In the UK, all Three customers (including PAYG) get 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling at no extra cost, provided their devices support these voice call quality improving features.
In the UK, Three customers get free Wi-Fi on the London Underground at over 250 stations, but the service is provided by Virgin Mobile. They can also connect to O2 Wi-Fi and Sky Mobile’s The Cloud services at no extra cost and enjoy their free Wi-Fi Hotspots across the UK.
There are no exclusive free Wi-Fi hotspot services Three customers can connect to when they are abroad though. You might want to check out BT Mobile’s SIM Only deals if this is something that interests you. We go into detail around this in our BT Mobile Review.
We think Three offers the best base international roaming deal in the UK and it comes at no extra cost so it’s really great value for money.
The network’s data pass is also cheaper than its competitors, and ups the number of roaming destinations to 89. Other networks like EE, Vodafone, O2 and their MVNOs offer free roaming too, and some of their premium deals include destinations like USA, Turkey, Australia and other popular destinations, but Three does it for free.
Three’s Go Roam in Europe has a fair usage cap of 20GB per month. If you go above this limit surcharges will apply.
You can’t use more than 12GB of data per month whilst travelling in Go Roam Around the World destinations of Three. After this point, your Three SIM won’t have access to the internet.
It depends on multiple factors. When in Go Roam in Europe destinations, If you spend the majority of your time abroad and consume more abroad than at home over a four month period, Three will start applying surcharges. In Go Roam Around the World destinations, you can’t spend more than two full months or else Three will suspend international roaming services on your account. If you spent some time in a destination which isn’t included in Go Roam, you can continue roaming.
All you have to do is switch on your devices roaming feature. Go Roam activates automatically when you’re in a Go Roam destination.
You can download the content you want to watch rather than streaming it. This will probably reduce your roaming costs significantly. You can also purchase a local SIM which requires no credit check and turn off the apps which are using heavy amounts of data. You can also opt for using Wi-Fi for both data and making calls.