Here's the full breakdown of European roaming charges for Vodafone, O2, EE, Three and more UK mobile networks.
Since the UK left the EU, mobile networks have slowly and sneakily re-introduced the previously extinct European roaming charges to customers.
As a UK business mobile provider, we offer tariffs from all the UK’s major networks—so we want to ensure our business customers, and also consumer customers across the UK, have access to the right information to avoid costly roaming charges and “bill shock”.
If you’re going abroad and want to use your mobile phone, be aware that there may be some changes regarding your roaming charges—depending on the network you’re on. Below is a full breakdown of the main UK networks, their roaming charges and ways to get around them. In this particular article, we’re only talking about pay monthly tariffs.
Please note - This information should be used as guidance. All tariffs are different and if you’re looking for specific information about your tariff and the associated roaming charges, you should speak with your network provider directly.
UK Networks - Roaming Charges
Below is a high level overview of the roaming charges for the main mobile networks in the UK.
Below is a full breakdown of the roaming charges of each mobile network, how to activate them and all the other information you'll need when travelling.
Roam like at home in Europe - 25GB max data - Make calls and texts as normal
We’ll start off with O2. Unlike the other major networks, O2 have maintained their roam like at home policy—giving you the ability to use your existing O2 tariff in the Europe Zone without any additional charge.
On their website, O2 states that “We cover roaming in our Europe Zone as part of our tariffs. So, your data (subject to a roaming limit), minutes and text allowances will work in our Europe Zone, just like they do at home.” To find out which countries are in the Europe Zone click here.
O2’s Roam Like At Home is only designed for short breaks and holidays, which is perfect for most users. But if you’re staying abroad for a longer time period, it might be worth getting a local SIM, or speaking with O2 about longer-term bolt ons.
It’s worth noting that you will still be charged for calling international numbers from your O2 Mobile. Roam like at home allows you to use your UK tariff abroad, so that includes your UK minutes, texts and data. Calling international numbers will likely still incur additional cost—even if you’re in the same country (i.e calling a French number while in France).
If you’re going abroad, we recommend speaking with O2 directly to confirm the roaming charges on your specific tariff before you leave.
How to Activate your O2 Roaming
You don’t need to do anything to activate Roam Like at Home on your O2 SIM. Just make sure that data roaming is enabled on your device and you will begin roaming as soon as you land (and switch off airplane mode!). How to enable data roaming on your iPhone or Apple device - How to enable data roaming on your Android device
Users often get a test from O2, or their European network partner(s) when they land, which outlines the roaming information for the country they’re in.
A ‘zone’ system determines roaming charges - Most European destinations are £2/day - Tariffs connected before 11 August 2021 have free roaming
As of 31st January 2022, Vodafone re-introduced roaming charges to most of their tariffs. Vodafone states that “On a number of Pay Monthly plans, that started on or after 11 August 2021, there may now be a charge for using your plan’s allowances in most European countries depending on which ‘zone’ you are in.”
Zone B contains 49 European countries which have roaming charges.
- Zone A – Republic of Ireland and Isle of Man
- Zone B – 49 European destinations
- Zone C – 32 worldwide destinations
- Zone D – 75 worldwide destinations
If you’re looking to save money, Vodafone offer a ‘European Roaming’ bolt ons, which allow you to use your UK tariff in Europe. An 8-day pass is £8, and a 15-day pass is £15.
If you have either of the below tariffs, Vodafone have included European roaming with your tariff free of charge:
- Unlimited data Xtra Airtime Plans with 4 Xtra benefits
- Limited data Xtra Airtime Plans with 4 Xtra benefits
There is good news, however. If you connected your tariff before 11 August 2021, then you’ll still have access to Vodafone’s free roaming in Zone B. Bear in mind that if you upgraded your tariff after 11 Aug 2021, you’ll still have to pay roaming charges.
Bear in mind, Vodafone’s £2/day charge only allows you to use your UK tariff abroad (your UK minutes, texts and data). This means that if you call/text international numbers, you will likely still be charged for these, even if you’re in the same country.
Vodafone have a handy roaming charge checker on their website that you can use to verify the charges before you travel. We recommend speaking with Vodafone directly before you travel to ensure you have all the information about your tariff and roaming charges.
How to Activate your Vodafone Roaming
If you would like to add a data roaming bolt on (either the 8-Day or 15-Day pass), Vodafone’s website says “To add one of these Extras to your plan, just text 8DAYEUROPE or 15DAYEUROPE to 40506 free from your Vodafone mobile.”
To activate your Vodafone roaming, ensure that the data roaming setting is enabled on your device.
Just like O2, you should get a text when you arrive at your destination highlighting the roaming information. If you’re unsure about adding roaming to your tariff, you should contact Vodafone directly.
Tariffs connected before 7th July 2021 have free roaming - £2/day roaming fee for Europe - Offers ‘Roam Abroad add on’
EE, like Vodafone, have re-introduced roaming charges for European destinations, with customers facing a £2/day charge for using their UK tariff in European countries. The full list of countries can be found on EE’s website.
However, this only applies if your mobile tariff was connected after 7 July 2021. If you were connected before then, roaming charges will not affect you (for mobile broadband, tablets & laptops this is 18th August 2021). Be aware that if you changes or upgraded your tariff after these dates, you’re probably still susceptible to roaming charges.
If you’re away for more than 5 days and looking to save a few pennies, EE do offer a £10 roaming add on, which covers the full month of roaming for only £10—which is a significantly better deal than Vodafone’s £15 for 15 days. EE also state that “You can add Roam Abroad as an add-on to your plan at any time for £10 a month and cancel whenever you like.”
Just like O2 and Vodafone, EE’s roaming only covers your existing UK tariff abroad. So you can use your UK texts/minutes and data allowance abroad, but you will likely still be charged for dialling or texting international numbers, even if you’re in the same country.
For example, dialling a German number while in Germany will still be chargeable unless you have a bolt on specifically to cover it.
EE have an online calculator to help you find the roaming charges associated with your tariff. It is worth speaking directly to EE about your tariff, if you’re unsure of roaming charges.
How to Activate your EE Roaming
To activate roaming on your EE SIM, follow the below instructions from EE’s website:
In your My EE account online go to Menu > Account Settings > Parental and Data Controls > Enable Roaming and also Make calls abroad from the UK > They will show as ticked if roaming and calling abroad is activated.
Make sure you do this at least 24 hours before you travel, as it can take a while for the changes to come into affect on the network.
If you would like to add a roaming bolt-on (the one that costs £10 a month), text ROAMING PASS to 150 from your EE mobile.
You need to ensure that you have enabled data roaming on your device’s settings too. How to enable data roaming on your iPhone or Apple device - How to enable data roaming on your Android device
£2/day roaming charge for European countries - Tariffs connected before 1 October 2021 have free roaming - Three’s ‘Go Roam’ has 71 worldwide destinations
Three have also re-introduced roaming charges for tariffs connected since 1 October 2021. Three’s ‘Go Roam’ costs users £2/day for European destinations, and £5/day for other worldwide destinations. This covers a total of 71 countries, the full list of which can be found here.
Three’s website says “If you’re a Pay Monthly customer who joined or upgraded your plan on or after 1 October 2021, you’ll incur a daily roaming charge to unlock your UK allowances for 24 hours in Go Roam destinations. The daily roaming charge is £2 in Go Roam in Europe destinations and £5 in Go Roam Around the World destinations.”
Just like the other networks, Three’s Go Roam allows you to use your UK plan while abroad, so drilling and texting international numbers (even if you’re in the country) will likely still be chargeable.
Three doesn’t offer additional roaming bolt-ons. But if you run out of data, you can add a normal bolt on and use it abroad. You can also add International calling minutes if you need to.
Three’s website has a useful roaming destination checker to help you find the roaming charges associated with your tariff.
How to activate your Three Roaming
You don’t need to activate Go Roam on your Three SIM. “Go Roam works automatically when you arrive in a Go Roam destination, as long as data roaming is switched on in your device's settings.”
When you arrive at your destination, you’ll receive a text message with roaming information and charges outlined.
Quick Fire Roaming - The Smaller Networks
Virgin Media use O2 as their service provider, so customers benefit from Roam Like at Home in most European destinations at no extra cost.
View the full list of countries here.
Tesco Mobile also use O2 as their service provider, so they have access to ‘Roam Like at Home’ which they have rebranded to Home from Home. This allows data roaming in 48 countries in Europe & beyond free of charge.
Just like Tesco and Virgin, GiffGaff use O2 as their operator, so offer Roam Like at Home to 37 European destinations at no extra cost.
iD Mobile use Three as their network operator. However, unlike Three, they do not charge for European roaming in 50 European destinations. You can use your mobile data, texts and minutes as you would at home.
iD Mobile also has an added benefit of allowing calls and texts to numbers in the same band: “When in a Band 1 destination, calling or texting any other EU roaming Band 1 destination with remaining inclusive minutes and texts.” This means, if you’re in France, you can call a French number and it’ll come from your included minutes.
Sky mobile uses O2’s network, but charges for roaming. They charge £2/day for their “Roaming Passport Plus”. “Our Roaming Passport Plus pass (£2 a day) lets you access your UK data, calls and text allowances in over 55 popular holiday destinations.”
Plusnet is an EE based network that offers a free Roam Like at Home to their subscribers. Unlike EE, users can use their UK data, minutes and voice in 52 European countries. A much better deal than EE.
Tips to Reduce Mobile Roaming Charges
While most mobile networks don’t charge a fortune for their European roaming, it can be an unwanted expense for some—particularly if you don’t use your phone that much.
Many people also worry that they’re going to use up all their data while on holiday, and incur large out of bundle costs, so here are our tips on how you can reduce or avoid data roaming charges while abroad.
1. Connect to WiFi
The best way to avoid data roaming is to connect your device to WiFi hotspots while aboard. Connecting to a WiFi network means that your device is not using your 4G or 5G data to connect to the internet.
Most hotels, restaurants and even some cities offer large public networks that you can utilise. Be aware that public networks are often insecure and slow—so take all necessary precautions to ensure your device is protected while using public networks.
2. Turn of WiFi assist
Following directly on from the previous tip—if you have your device connected to WiFi make sure you turn off WiFi assist.
If you have an iPhone or Apple device, then it will come with a setting called WiFi assist. WiFi assist uses your mobile data to ‘fill in’ missing data gaps in WiFi. If you’re connected to a slow network, or you have a poor connection, then your iPhone uses the 4G/5G in the area to provide a better connection. This uses your mobile data.
If you’re abroad and want to ensure you’re not using WiFi assist, you can turn it off by visiting Settings > Cellular or Settings > Mobile Data. Then scroll down and tap the slider for Wi-Fi Assist.
3. Add a roaming bolt-on
Roaming bolt-ons allow you to add additional data, minutes and/or texts to your existing mobile tariff. Some networks (such as EE) offer roaming bolt ons. These are often more cost effective over longer holidays or trips to further destinations.
The mobile network’s update their roaming bolt-ons quite frequently, so you should check their websites for information about what bolt-ons are available and their associated costs.
4. Get a local SIM
If you’re staying abroad for a few weeks, the cheapest way to use mobile data is to get a local SIM. Local SIM cards connect to the country you’re visitings local mobile networks, rather than ‘roaming’.
You can pick up a cheap pay as you go SIM for not a lot of money these days, and if you have a dual-SIM phone, you can have both this, and your UK SIM using the same device.
Local SIMs also come with the added benefit of being able to call and text local telephone numbers without large charges—which is particularly helpful if you’re doing business locally and need to call non-UK numbers.
5. Utilise a Mi-Fi device
Perfect for holiday makers and travellers, a MiFi device is a small, portable internet connection that uses a local data (MBB) SIM card. These are perfect for longer trips, inter-country travelling and more, as you can switch out the SIM at any point and use it as a portable WiFi hotspot.
These devices are relatively cheap, and can connect to multiple phones or devices at once (including laptops etc). Which means that if you have multiple devices, you won’t need to pay for multiple roaming charges or SIMs.
So there you have it, a list of mobile roaming charges for Europe, broken down by network. We hope you found this guide helpful, and wherever you’re going, have a great time!
This article is provided as a guide, for exact information about your tariff and roaming charges, you should speak directly to your mobile tariff provider.