Know your options when it comes to using your phone abroad, so you don’t spend more than you have to.
Using your mobile phone abroad used to be very costly and an overpriced data roaming bill isn’t something your travel insurance will cover.
Luckily, the rules around data roaming are changing, with data caps and like-for-like data charges helping to control your costs when you're overseas.
Since 2017, calls, texts and data usage in the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have cost the same as in the UK – that could change at any time now that the UK's left the European Union.
Major phone operators didn't immediately apply roaming charges after the Brexit transition ended on 31 December 2020. But there's no longer any legal right to ‘roam like at home’.
If you’re going on holiday outside the EU, roaming charges are usually very high.
Since January 2021, it's been up to the network provider to decide how much they charge.
Each provider could decide to reintroduce roaming charges at any time, so make sure you check what yours charges before you go away.
Wherever you travel, there will still be a mobile roaming data use limit of £45 per month.
This means you’ll receive alerts when you’ve used 80% and then again at 100% of your data allowance, so you don’t accidentally overspend.
You can find out more about the rules on data roaming abroad on the government’s website.
If you’re using data anywhere that your provider charges for roaming, you’ll need a data roaming add-on to avoid potentially high data charges.
You can buy a roaming add-on before you travel so you know exactly what you’re getting, or when you get to your destination.
Buying a data roaming add-on abroad means the price will vary, depending on which country you’re in.
Calls, texts and data use in countries where your provider doesn't include free roaming will not be charged as the same as in UK.
Here’s a few ways to save money while using your phone abroad:
Your phone will need to be ‘unlocked’ for you to use a different SIM card and you’ll usually have to have ID to buy one.