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Three's £2 a day roaming charges come into effect today – here's all you need to know

Three's £2 a day roaming charges come into effect from today (Monday 23 May) for holidaymakers who wish to use their normal monthly allowance in Europe. The change will affect new and upgrading pay-monthly and Sim-only customers.

The  mobile network provider announced the change, which also includes a new £5 a day charge for roaming in certain non-European destinations, in September 2021. It is a blow to customers who had specifically joined Three because its roaming service had, until now, gone beyond what other providers offered.

Below we explain everything you need to know. You can also see our Cheap mobile and data roaming guide for further help on cutting the cost of using your mobile overseas.

Three pay monthly and Sim-only users who joined or renewed on or from 1 October 2021 will be charged

The move impacts pay monthly and Sim-only customers who signed up or renewed their contract on or from 1 October 2021. Those who were with Three before this date, and who have not upgraded since, will not be charged.

So if you're on a good deal and will still be on it from today (Monday 23 May), and you're going to one of the destinations where the £2 a day and £5 a day fees will come into force, it is worth simply letting your deal roll on - if you can. It may not be straightforward as Three has admitted to 'forcing' certain out of contract Sim-only and pay monthly customers to sign up to new deals, which means they'll lose their "free" roaming benefit.

If you're not on a good deal - for example, you're paying over the odds or not getting the same perks or level of service you could do elsewhere - then if you're free to leave, take advantage of better prices – though factor in UK and overseas use, particularly given many rival firms have also reintroduced roaming charges (see below for more on this).

Pay-as-you-go users are not impacted - so you can grab a "free" Sim to roam on abroad

The new charges won't apply to Three's pay-as-you-go (PAYG) customers. This means you can order a free PAYG Sim, add one of Three's data packs to it, and then use the allowance in 71 destinations worldwide. 

To benefit, you'll have to use the new number - and have an unlocked phone. Plus, you'll need to top it up and use it in the UK at least once first. You'll also need to use it once every 180 days to keep it active. To be clear, this is about getting an additional Sim just to use for roaming, not replacing your current one. See our Roaming guide for more info.  

Here's the full list of European destinations where the £2 a day fee will apply

From today (Monday 23 May), Three customers who wish to use their normal monthly allowance will be charged £2 a day in certain European countries.

These are:

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 a 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 that there's no change to free roaming in the Republic of Ireland, which remains on all of Three's plans subject to its fair usage policy of 12GB a month.

 

Three will also charge £5 a day to roam in certain destinations outside of Europe

Until today, Three allowed customers on all but its "Essentials" plans to use their UK allowance for free in certain non-European destinations too. But now the mobile provider will charge customers £5 a day to use their UK allowance in the destinations listed below. The £5 a 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 a day or £5 a day will vary by location, as is the case now.

Here's where you'll be charged £5 a day:

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 a day fee will also apply: Hong Kong, Macau, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

But there are still steps you can take to cut roaming costs. See our Cheap mobile and data roaming guide for more info.

Other providers are also upping costs

Three isn't the only provider to reintroduce roaming fees this summer, with many of the major networks having either done so or confirming plans to do so:

  • Vodafone introduced a £2 a day fee for roaming in Europe on 31 January 2022.
  • EE introduced a £2 a day fee for using mobile data in Europe on 3 March 2022.
  • Sky started charging customers a £2 a day European roaming fee from 3 May 2022.
  • Voxi, which is owned by Vodafone, will charge customers £2 a day to use their mobile data in Europe from 27 May 2022.

The notable exception is O2, which announced that it won't reintroduce fees.

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