Three to extend free mobile roaming to 42 countries
Mobile customers with Three will be able to roam for free in an extra 24 countries from 1 September, the company has announced.
Under Three’s ‘Feel at Home’ scheme, customers can already use their mobile allowances for no extra charge in 18 countries. These are (in no particular order): Spain, France, Switzerland, Israel, Finland, Norway, USA, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Macau, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Austria, Hong Kong, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland.
But from 1 September, the free roaming zone will be expanded to include: Germany, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, Poland, Belgium, Netherlands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Malta, Lithuania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Iceland, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar, Guernsey and Jersey.
The move will cover 80% of trips made by Three customers, according to the mobile giant.
However, from June 2017, all mobile companies will be forced to stop charging roaming fees to EU citizens using their handsets within the Eurozone. At present, there are no plans to change this for the UK in light of the Brexit vote.
Current Three ‘Feel at Home’ zone
Three ‘Feel at Home’ zone from 1 September
Cut roaming costs
Three isn’t the only mobile provider to already offer inclusive mobile roaming. Vodafone allows inclusive roaming in 40 countries for those with its Red and Red Value contracts, iD offers it in 29 countries for those on its TakeAway plans, while Tesco Mobile is offering it in 31 countries until 3 September.
But if you don’t have an inclusive plan, to cut the cost of roaming charges when you’re abroad, telecoms regulator Ofcom recommends:
- Downloading any apps, films, books or music before you go to avoid charges abroad.
- Turning off data roaming. If you leave it on, you can run up a big bill without actively using your phone as smartphones and 3G/4G enabled tablets automatically seek out mobile connections and use them to update apps.
- Using Wi-Fi to get online. Most hotels abroad now offer free roaming access, as do many restaurants and cafes.
- Buying a local pay-as-you-go Sim when you arrive. This means you pay the same price as locals, although obviously you’ll have a different phone number.
Talking to your provider. Some providers, such as Three, allow users to roam for free in certain countries. Others may be able to offer you a roaming add-on deal.