Three to introduce £2/day European roaming charges from May 2022
Three is to start charging new and upgrading pay monthly and Sim-only customers roaming fees of £2/day to use their monthly allowances in Europe from 23 May 2022. In addition, the mobile provider will ditch a core deal that allowed many customers to use their inclusive minutes, texts and data in 22 non-European destinations and instead charge customers £5/day.
The move will be a blow to Three customers who specifically joined the provider because it went beyond what most providers offered. While all firms had to allow you to use UK allowances in Europe until Brexit, Three offered that benefit in many more countries.
No existing Three customer is impacted as things stand though as it only affects pay-monthly or Sim-only customers who sign up to a new Three deal or actively renew their contract on or from Friday 1 October. This means you can let your contract roll on from 1 October to avoid the charges (see below for more on this).
Pay-as-you-go users are not affected by these changes, including its optional pay-as-you-go 'Data Packs' (which are valid for one calendar month from the date of purchase).
But there are still steps you can take to cut roaming costs. See below, and visit our Cheap mobile and data roaming guide for more info.
Three to charge £2/day to roam in Europe
It has become the third network to announce plans to scrap 'free roaming' in Europe following Brexit. The £2/day charge will apply at the moment you use your phone in one of the 48 destinations where this applies.
EE was first to scrap the perk in June when it announced it would charge customers £2/day to roam in Europe from January 2022. This was quickly followed by Vodafone in August, which will also bring in a £2/day fee from next January. MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis had warned following EE's announcement that other mobile providers would "likely follow" its lead.
Here are the European countries where the new £2/day fee will apply: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus (though note that higher roaming fees may apply in Northern Cyprus), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City.
And these are the territories where the new £2/day fee will also apply: Aland Islands, Azores, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, French Guiana, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Madeira, Martinique, Mayotte, Reunion, St. Barthelemy, and St. Martin.
Note: Three currently offers free roaming in the Republic of Ireland on all of its plans – this ISN'T changing, so you'll still be able to use your home allowance in Ireland for free as before from 23 May 2022, subject to Three's fair usage policy of 12GB/mth.
Three will charge £5/day to roam in certain destinations outside of Europe too
Three currently allows customers on all but its 'Essentials' plans to use their UK allowance for free in certain non-European destinations too. But from 23 May 2022, the mobile providers will charge customers £5/day to use their UK allowance in these destinations - see the full list below. The £5/day charge will apply at the moment you use your phone in one of the 22 destinations where this applies.
Roaming charges outside of the destinations where you'll now be charged £2/day or £5/day will vary by location as is the case now.
Here are the countries where the new £5/day fee will apply: Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Israel, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, USA and Vietnam.
And these are the territories where the new £5/day fee will also apply: Hong Kong, Macau, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
Currently with Three? You won’t face the new £2/day or £5/day charges above unless you actively renew, but check you're on the best deal
Most existing Three pay-monthly or Sim-only customers (barring those on an Essentials plan who want to use their allowance in certain destinations outside of Europe) won't face the new roaming charges if they simply do nothing. It's only those who sign up to a new Three deal or renew their contract on or from Friday 1 October who may have to pay.
Here are your options given you don't need to take action immediately to avoid roaming charges:
- This is a good trigger to check if you're overpaying. It's worth doing a full comparison via our Cheap Mobile Finder tool.
- If you're on a good deal and will still be on it from May 23 2022, and you're going to one of the destinations where the £2/day and £5/day fees will come into force, it is worth simply letting your deal roll on. Three has confirmed you can do so and avoid these fees. But remember to check what's best to do when your contract's term is up, if you're currently tied in, as you may be able to get it cheaper, even after factoring in roaming fees.
- If you're on a poor rate now, then if you're free to leave, take advantage of better prices – though factor in UK and overseas use. Of course, if you are considering switching to a rival firm remember it too may follow others in reintroducing roaming charges in due course. See our Cheap mobile and data roaming guide.
Other providers say they have 'no plans' to change their roaming policies - yet
BT Mobile, ID Mobile, O2, Plusnet, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Smarty and Voxi have all told us they have no plans to change their current mobile roaming policies for now - but there are no guarantees. Vodafone, for example, told us it had no plans to reintroduce European roaming fees when we asked in June following EE's announcement, yet it quickly U-turned on this.
What does Three say?
A spokesperson for Three said: “The new charge ensures that customers are clear on what they will pay when using their phone in another country and only those who roam will pay for the service. It will also ensure that we can continue investing in our UK network.”
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