Vodafone has this week become the latest mobile network to jump on the free roaming bandwagon, following the lead of Tesco and Three in offering its customers the chance to use their phones abroad at no extra cost.
Naturally, things aren’t quite as straightforward as that, however.
Is it worth switching to Vodafone to take advantage of Vodafone's offer? And how do existing customers fare? Read on and we’ll answer all the key questions.
What’s the offer?
The basics are simple enough. Vodafone will allow customers to use their calls, texts, picture messages and data when travelling abroad at no extra cost.
The move is designed to rival’s Tesco Mobile’s Home From Home package, which offers free roaming from May to September, and Three’s long-standing Feel At Home sweetener, which offers free calls, texts and web access in 19 countries around the world.
Can I use my phone anywhere?
No. Vodafone is limiting its offer to 40 European nations, on the grounds that 80% of its users who go abroad visit these countries.
It’s also sticking to Europe because roaming fees across the EU were recently cut, ahead of plans to scrap them completely in June 2017.
If you want to use your Vodafone device elsewhere in the world, you’ll need to use its WorldTraveller bolt–on, which costs £5 a day.
Are all Vodafone customers included?
This new roaming deal is limited to the company’s Red and Red Value pay monthly customers.
30 Day SIM only and Pay As You Go customers can’t take advantage. What’s more, you’ll need to be a new or upgrading customer to take advantage.
That's not ideal if you’re a loyal and long-time Vodafone subscriber, but great if you’re looking to move and spend a lot of time on the road in Europe.
The deal is part of Vodafone’s 30 Day Network Guarantee, so you can pick up a phone on a Red or Red Value bundle and try out the service before you fully commit.
Can I use all of my UK contract’s allowance?
When it comes to calls, texts and picture messages, you can use as many as your contract allows.
Data, however, is a different proposition. Vodafone is limiting data usage to a maximum of 4GB, and even then that’s for customers who pay for a 12GB Red Value plan.
If you pay for 8GB data in the UK, you’ll only get 2GB abroad.
That’s still ample for casual web browsing, but if you use your phone as a satnav or stream music by the pool, be aware that your data allowance could easily get eaten up.
By comparison, Tesco and Three let you use the same amount of data aboard as in the UK.
What countries and destinations are on board?
A huge array, including key holiday destinations on the continent. The full list is as follows:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina-
- Channel Islands (Jersey & Guernsey)
- Czech Republic
- Denmark (including the Faroe Islands)
- France (including Corsica)
- French Territories
- Isle of Man
- Italy (including Vatican City)
- The Netherlands
- Portugal (including Azores & Madeira)
- Republic of Ireland
- San Marino
- Spain (including the Balearic Islands)