Customer Service

Using Your Phone Abroad is About to Get a Whole Lot Cheaper

Big news – you can now use your phone for free in many of your favourite holiday destinations! The European Commission has ruled that from 15th June 2017 mobile phone companies will no longer be allowed to charge holidaymakers extra for using their phones abroad, so the calls, texts and data included in your contract will be available to you in all EU countries.

That’s right – no more hanging around in your hotel lobby waiting for slow wifi, and no more pesky data roaming charges! You can keep in touch with your loved ones at home, keep up to date with the football scores or X Factor results and post all the braggy photos you want, included in your contract. Here’s what you need to know…

When will the roaming charge ban start?

The ban came into force officially on 15th June 2017, so until this date you could still have been charged by your phone company. However depending on your phone company you may already have been able to use your phone abroad – Three started offering free roaming for selected countries in 2013 and Vodafone also scrapped roaming charges earlier this year.

Girl on a beach with phone

What countries are included in the ruling?

It’s important to remember that the ruling only applies to EU countries. You will still have to pay the applicable charges to use your phone worldwide, and if in doubt double-check that your European destination is a member of the European Union! Non-EU countries in Europe include Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Albania, Switzerland, Turkey, Russia, Macedonia and Montenegro.

Some mobile phone providers will also include some non-EU countries in their free roaming service, but this is unique to each provider and could depend on the kind of contract you have, so you should check with your provider before you travel.

What will happen once we leave the EU?

Nobody knows really. Once the UK leaves the EU we’ll no longer be covered by the European Commission’s ruling, but it’s always possible that the UK government might introduce their own rule to prevent the return of roaming charges. It’s also possible that providers might continue their free roaming service by choice, rather than risk angering or losing customers.

Are you going to save money on your holiday once roaming charges are abolished? Let us know in the comments!