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Roaming on the road: travellers could be caught out by mobile data charges this summer

Comparison Site Go.Compare warns Brits to check their network’s data roaming policy and avoid unexpected costs

The experts at Go.Compare mobile are urging those planning a holiday abroad this year to check their provider’s data roaming policy before they travel, to avoid being caught out and left with a hefty bill.

Since the UK left the EU there has been a change in the regulation, meaning some mobile networks have reintroduced roaming fees for using your mobile phone data in Europe. The costs and rules differ between networks and can depend on when you signed your phone contract. 

Whether you are looking to translate something, get directions or contact friends and family at home, using your mobile data abroad might seem like a necessity rather than a luxury. To do any of these things, your data roaming setting must be turned on – but before doing so, it’s important to check if you’ll be facing any unexpected fees. 

To help intrepid travellers cut the costs, Go.Compare has taken a look at the policies of some of the major phone providers and revealed what they now charge for using your phone’s data abroad.

  • EE
    If you have a pay monthly handset or SIM plan with EE that started after 7 July 2021, there is a £2.47 a day charge for using your minutes, text and data in its European roaming zone.
  • O2
    O2 doesn’t charge its customers any extra to use their usual allowance of calls, texts and data within the EU, up to the limit of 25GB. After this, a £3.50 a day charge will come into effect on any data used.
  • Vodafone
    Charges by Vodafone will depend on your travel destination, as well as when you bought your plan. It charges £2.25 a day (or £10 for 8 days) for contract customers roaming in Europe up to a limit of 25GB, with a charge of £3.13 for each GB used past this limit. Although, if you are on a pay monthly plan and travelling to ‘Zone A’  (Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Iceland or Norway), there are no charges. 
  • Three

If you signed up or upgraded a contract with Three after 1 October 2021, you will be charged £2 per day for countries within the EU, and £5 for some countries outside of the EU. Alternatively, it offers Go Roam passes for three, seven and 14-day passes depending on how long you need to use data roaming abroad, which are subject to a 12Gb fair use limit. 

Catherine Hilley, mobile and broadband expert at Go.Compare explained, “Heading to a new country can be really exciting, and you might need to use your data roaming for all sorts of reasons – whether it’s to look up directions, research local tourist attractions, or stay in touch with friends and family back home. While these are things you can do without incurring additional charges in the UK, they could lead to an unexpected and expensive phone bill when done abroad. 

“UK phone providers used to offer free data roaming throughout the EU. And although networks like O2, Sky Mobile and iD Mobile haven’t reintroduced roaming fees, most others have. It might not be your first thought when planning a holiday, but it’s important to be aware of the data roaming regulations in your mobile contract before you jet off, as this could save you from unexpected charges while away.

“There are things you can do to keep the cost down and avoid hefty roaming charges:

  • Use an alternative SIM: Opting for an eSIM or a local SIM, especially if you know you are going to use a fair bit of data while abroad, can be a cheaper option than paying your network’s fees. It might mean you have to use a different number while you are away but it could save you some money if you know you’ll require a constant data connection.
  • Download before you go: If you want to watch, listen to or read any content while you’re travelling, downloading music, books or films before you leave home is a great way to use less data. The same goes for the journey home. If your hotel or accommodation has free Wi-Fi, make the most of it and download the whole series of that show you’ve been binge-watching. Just be aware that a lot of public Wi-Fi connections aren’t secure, so avoid using it for anything too sensitive, such as online banking.
  • Set spending caps: If you plan to use a bit of data but don’t want to rack up huge bills then setting your own spending cap might be a good idea. Most networks will let you do this and it means you won’t return home to a huge bill. 

“Whether you have just signed a new contract or had your phone for a few years, make sure you know the rules around data roaming with your provider before you head off. Then you can go and enjoy some summer sun without the stress.” 

For more information on data roaming within the EU and the rest of the world, or to find out about your network’s roaming policy, visit:

Contact Information

Rubie Barker

Notes to editors


For further information please contact:

Lynsey Walden or Kath Chadwick at Go.Compare on or

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare

Notes to Editor

About Go.Compare

Go.Compare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.

It does not charge people to use its services and does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. Go.Compare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.

When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. It is this approach to comparing products that secured the company an invitation to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) in 2008, and it is still the only comparison site to be a member of this organisation.

Go.Compare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest and works with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.

Go.Compare is part of Future Plc and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

More information can be found here or here