Tesco Mobile to charge customers for roaming in Europe from next year
Tesco Mobile is to start charging pay-monthly users who joined or upgraded from 16 June to use their mobiles in Europe from 1 January 2023. These customers will have to pay extra to make calls, send texts and use data in 48 European countries and destinations.
Update: 20 January 2023: Tesco Mobile has delayed its reintroduction of roaming charges until May. Plus, the new charges will now only apply to mobile data, not calls and texts. See Tesco Mobile roaming update for more info.
Mobile firms were banned from charging customers extra fees to use their UK allowance of minutes, texts and data (subject to a fair use cap) in Europe while the UK was still part of the EU. But now the post-Brexit transition is over, these rules no longer apply.
Many of the major networks have either reintroduced roaming charges or confirmed that they'll do so this summer (see below for more on this), though the major exception is O2, which has said it won't reintroduce fees.
Until now, Tesco Mobile - which piggybacks on O2's network - had resisted reintroducing roaming fees in Europe. It pointed out that it's "one of the only networks to offer free roaming this year" and added that it's never previously promised to continue to offer free roaming.
For full help on how to use your phone abroad for less, see our Cheap Mobile and Data Roaming guide.
If you joined or upgraded with Tesco Mobile on or after 16 June 2022, you'll be charged for roaming from 2023
If you took out a pay-monthly contract on or after 16 June 2022, you'll be charged 10p per MB of data used in Europe from 1 January 2023. You'll also be charged 55p a minute for calls and 20p per text - that's unless you take out a yet to be launched Tesco Mobile roaming bundle. The provider told us it is working on putting together roaming bundles and will share details on these later this year.
There are currently no caps on the amount of data you use abroad as it's charged on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) basis.
Tesco Mobile customers on a PAYG contract are not impacted by the reintroduction of roaming fees because they already pay by usage both in the UK and abroad.
Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus (Republic of), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guyana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland (Republic of), Isle of Man, Jersey, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, St. Martin, St. Barts, Sweden, Switzerland, and Vatican City.
Affected customers can't cancel penalty-free as they were told about roaming fees on joining or upgrading
If you took out or upgraded your contract on or after 16 June 2022, the roaming charges will have been stipulated in your contract, so you won't be able to cancel penalty-free, according to Tesco Mobile.
If you joined or upgraded on or before 15 June 2022, you won't be affected, so in this case you might want to consider letting your existing deal roll over when it expires to keep the free roaming perk. You should, of course, check you're on a cheap deal first though and compare prices with other major providers factoring in their roaming costs if this is important to you. Use our Cheap Mobile Finder tool to compare deals.
Before switching be aware that most major mobile firms either have introduced, or plan to reintroduce, European roaming charges:
- Vodafone reintroduced roaming charges on 31 January 2022.
- EE reintroduced roaming charges on 3 March 2022.
- Three brought back roaming charges from 23 May 2022.
- Voxi reintroduced roaming charges on 27 May 2022.
However, Virgin Mobile and O2, now known as Virgin Media O2, have pledged to continue offering free mobile roaming in Europe. See our Cheap Mobile and Data Roaming guide for full help on how to avoid or minimise roaming charges.