Mobile firm Three is adding to its list of countries you can use your phone in without paying roaming charges from 15 June. But you'll still face a limit on the amount of your UK data allowance you can use abroad and fees for exceeding that limit despite the much-touted 'ban' on EU roaming charges coming in next month.
Last week MoneySavingExpert.com revealed that the upcoming EU rules enforcing the "end of roaming charges" will still allow networks to charge customers with unlimited or "very cheap" data to use their full UK allowance when roaming.
In line with these rules, Three says that from 15 June, under its 'Feel At Home' offer all of its customers (including those on 'Essential' plans) will be able to use their UK calls and texts allowance in the EU without paying extra, but the amount of your data allowance you can use will be capped at 12GB for pay-monthly customers and 9GB for those on pay-as-you-go.
Here's a full round-up of what the changes mean for Three customers. See our Cheap Mobile Roaming guide for full info on how to save on your bill when traveling with your phone.
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How is Feel At Home changing?
Here's how Three's Feel At Home offer will work from 15 June:
- Inside the EU: All customers will be able to use their allowance to make calls and send texts to any other EU number when roaming in the region without paying anything extra (currently Feel At Home just lets you call or text UK numbers without paying extra). You'll also be able to use data for free, subject to the fair usage caps of 12GB for pay-monthly and 9GB for PAYG.
- Outside the EU: Three customers on Advanced plans or PAYG users who have bought a bundle with their credit will be able to use their allowance to call/text UK numbers (not local numbers these cost extra) without roaming charges, and use their data subject to the same 12GB/9GB fair usage cap, in certain destinations. These currently include the likes of Australia and the US (see the full list) from 15 June, Brazil, Singapore and the French West Indies will also be covered.
In total this brings the number of destinations covered by Feel At Home to 60, though bear in mind this number is made up of some individual 'destinations' and not simply countries (eg, Canary Islands, Vatican City), so it's not quite as many as it sounds (the same applies to some of EE's 47 and Vodafone's 40).
What will I pay if I go over the roaming data cap?
Wherever you use Feel At Home, the amount of your UK data allowance you can use abroad is capped at 12GB currently this will continue for pay-monthly customers, while from Monday 15 May and a new lower limit of 9GB will apply for PAYG customers. If you go above this, then:
- In the EU, you'll be charged 0.73p/MB or £7.30/GB for using the remainder of your allowance.
- In Feel At Home countries outside the EU, the charge depends on the country. For example, in the US it's 3.3p/MB, or £33/GB.
- In countries outside Europe and not covered by Feel At Home, standard roaming rates apply, which can be very costly. For example, in Morocco it's a whopping £6/MB.
Which firms will charge users for using their data allowance in the EU after the 'ban' on charges?
Three is the second mobile provider to confirm it will definitely be applying a fair use limit on the data its customers can use when roaming in the EU, and charges for going above this. Here's a full round-up of what we know other firms are planning to do so far:
- EE has set a 15GB fair use limit for all customers.
- O2 says it won't charge most users to access their full data allowance, but has set a 10GB cap for PAYG users on its 20GB bundle.
- Plusnet says it won't charge customers on plans of 20GB or less to use their allowance, and that it doesn't offer plans above this.
- Vodafone also says it does not intend to charge non-business customers to use the data included in their plan.
Three adds cheap international calls for PAYG users
Three is also reducing the cost of calls for pay-as-you-go users to 20 countries (from the UK). It'll cost 3p/minute to call landlines and mobiles in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China, and the company says a further 16 countries will be added 'by June'.