Skip to main content
  1. uSwitch.com
  2. Guides
  3. Which network is best for international roaming?

Which network is best for international roaming?

Last updated:
Mobile Roaming Charges

Changes in the law mean that you can use your UK allowances while you're roaming in the EU for no extra charge. So as long as you're travelling somewhere in Europe, it doesn't matter which network you're on, right?

Wrong. Some networks offer inclusive roaming in countries outside the EU. While others don't. What's more, if you're canny and choose your network wisely you can even get inclusive roaming in destinations much further afield.

Below we take a look at each network in turn to see what's on offer.

Compare network roaming schemes

Roaming policies vary wildly from network to network. So how do you know whether you'll be able to use your phone when you're abroad and how much it'll cost you?

Luckily we've done all the leg work for you in this handy network-by-network guide.

Network roaming scheme Who does it apply to? Cost Destinations covered Fair usage (applies if data tariff is above amount mentioned)
Three Feel at Home All Advanced plans None 71 destinations 12GB. Can spend up to 2 months in roaming zone over 12 month rolling contract period
Vodafone Roam Free All customers on new monthly plans None 50 destinations None. Can spend up to 2 months in roaming zone over 4 month period
Vodafone Roam Further All customers on new pay monthly plans £6 per day to use your UK plan 60 destinations None. Can spend up to 2 months in roaming zone over 4 month period
EE Max Plan roaming All 4GEE Max Plan None 53 destinations 15GB. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming zone over 120-day period
O2 Europe Zone Usage All customers on new pay monthly plans (not PAYG) None 47 Europe Zone destinations 10GB. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming zone over 120-day period
O2 Full Travel Bolt-On Select phone-and-tariff plans on 4GB or 15GB or above None 75 destinations worldwide 10GB. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming zone over 120-day period
Tesco Mobile Home from Home All customers on pay monthly or PAYG plans None 48 Europe Zone destinations + 6 12GB. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming over 120-day period
Plusnet Mobile Roam Like Home All customers on pay monthly or PAYG plans None 52 Europe Zone destinations 15GB. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming over 120-day period
Sky Roaming Passport All customers on pay monthly plans None 36 Europe Zone destinations None
BT Roam Like at Home All customers on pay monthly plans None 47 destinations 15GB. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming zone over 120-day period
iD Mobile Roam Like at Home All customers on pay monthly plans None 52 destinations Only applies to some SIM only customers. Can spend up to 60 days in roaming zone over 120-day period

This information was correct at the time of writing.

Roaming outside the EU? Take a look at our international roaming guide.

Three

Network - Three

Three’s ‘Feel At Home’ offer lets you use your at–home allowance of calls, texts and data without paying extra in 71 locations.

These are in Europe and beyond, including USA, Australia and New Zealand. You can see the full list of countries here: Three Feel at Home.

It's worth noting that Feel at Home is reserved for customers on Three's Advanced Plans.

Calling numbers within a country will cost extra. But you'll be notified of the rates by a text message from Three when you arrive at your holiday destination.

If you're on a Three Essential Plan, you'll still be able to use your allowance for no extra charge in the EU. But you won't qualify for inclusive roaming in locations further afield.

To find out how much you could save, use the special calculator on Three's website.

Three also has a £5 per day Euro Internet Pass for other destinations.

Want to know more? Take a look at our Three roaming FAQ.

Vodafone

Network - Vodafone logo

Vodafone offers two roaming schemes.

Roam-Free lets you use your regular monthly allowance of calls, texts and data in 50 European countries for no extra cost.

Roam Further allows you to access your monthly allowance in a further 60 countries for an additional £6 per day.

Find out more with our Vodafone roaming FAQ.

O2

Network - o2

All O2 pay monthly and business customers qualify for inclusive roaming in 49 European destinations. These are deemed to be in O2's Europe Zone.

Customers who signed up for a plan with 4GB or 15GB data allowance or more also qualify for inclusive roaming in a further 27 locations further afield, including USA, Australia, Argentina and New Zealand. On each day in these destinations, customers are granted a daily allowance of 120 texts, 120 minutes, and 150Mb of data.

If you're not on a cheaper plan that doesn't include an extended worldwide roaming scheme as standard, you can sign up for an O2 Full Travel Bolt On for £4.99 per day. That buys you 120 minutes and 120 texts per day and uncapped data to use in locations outside O2's Europe Zone.

Want to see which countries are covered? Have a read of our O2 roaming FAQ.

EE

Network - EE

All existing EE pay monthly and pay as you go customers get inclusive roaming to 48 European destinations as part of their mobile, mobile broadband or tablet allowance.

EE has also introduced a new range of 4GEE Max plans for new and upgrading customers that allow customers to use their monthly allowances across 53 destinations worldwide.

These include EU countries as well as the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. This covers over 80% of time EE customers spend overseas.

Take a look at our EE roaming FAQ.

Virgin Media

virgin media news 520x251x24 hb096e2a4

Virgin Media offers inclusive roaming in 43 destinations with its Roam Like Home scheme. These include 28 EU locations, as well as locations in Europe but outside the EU, such as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Gibraltar.

Roam Like Home also includes some countries outside Europe, such as Canary Islands, French Caribbean, Martinique and Reunion.

Interested? Find out more with our Virgin Media roaming FAQ.

iD Mobile

id-mobile-1024x446

iD Mobile offers inclusive roaming in 52 destinations in the EU and beyond with its Roam Like Home scheme.

The offer applies to SIM-only contracts, pay monthly mobile phone contracts and pay as you go.

Want to know more? Check out our iD Moblie roaming FAQ.

Sky Mobile

Sky Mobile logo

All Sky Mobile customers are able to use their mobile data, calls and texts in 36 European locations for no extra cost.

For customers with Unlimited Calls and Texts as part of their plan, all calls to landlines and mobiles and all texts sent within the EU are included.

If you're on Pay As You Use calls and texts, you'll pay the same rate as you do in the UK.

The other big benefit of Sky Mobile as far as roaming goes is that if you've already stored a trove of unused data your Sky Piggybank, you can use the data when you're in Europe too.

Find out more with our Sky Mobile roaming FAQ.

TalkTalk

TalkTalk

TalkTalk customers can use their monthly allowance of calls, texts and data for no extra cost in 49 destinations.

However, it's worth bearing in mind that customers who have been with TalkTalk for less than 3 months will need to pay £25 as an advanced payment to activate roaming.

Want to see which countries are covered? Take a look at our TalkTalk roaming FAQ.

BT Mobile

BT mobile logo

Customers on BT Mobile can enjoy inclusive roaming in 47 destinations thanks to BT's Roam Like Home scheme. This includes locations such as the Canary Islands, Norway and Switzerland.

And you can use the BT Mobile app to track your usage, so you can make sure you don't go over your allowance.

Want to see which other locations are covered? Read our BT Mobile roaming FAQ.

giffgaff

giffgaff

giffgaff offers inclusive roaming for all its customers in 37 locations in the EU and beyond.

And topping up overseas is easy too. All you need to do is head to the giffgaff website, which free to access, even if you’ve run out of credit.

It's worth noting that you won't be able to use your allowance if you're visiting a country not included in giffgaff's 37 locations.

Want to know which countries are covered? Take a look at our giffgaff roaming FAQ.

Tesco Mobile

tesco mobile logo 100x70 520x197x24 h596ad783

All Tesco Mobile customers can use their monthly allowance of calls, texts and data for no extra charge in 48 European desintations.

Customers travelling further afield will still be able to use their phones while on holiday, but they will need to pay extra.

Want to find out which destinations are covered? Take a look at our Tesco Mobile roaming FAQ.

SMARTY

Smarty logo hero image

At the time of writing, SMARTY is a UK-only network. This means that you can't use a SMARTY SIM card abroad or to make overseas calls, even within the EU.

However, SMARTY has confirmed that it is set to offer roaming from June 2018.

In the meantime, you can insert a SIM card from another network for inclusive roaming while you're away. So, depending on where you're going on holiday, it could be worthwhile getting a SIM-only deal to use abroad.

Want to find out more? Check out our SMARTY roaming FAQ.

So which network is best for roaming?

International roaming woman using phone at airport

That largely depends on where you like to holiday.

At the time of writing, Three’s Feel at Home scheme covers 71 worldwide locations, more than any other network. And winningly, it includes really popular destinations, such as USA, Australia and Hong Kong.

However, a lot of these destinations are only available on a Three Advanced plan, which is usually more expensive than a regular Three deal.

Typically, Advanced plan contracts work out at around £3 or £4 a month more than an Essential plan. But, in addition to Three’s Feel at Home inclusive roaming scheme, an Advanced plan will also get you Go Binge that allows you to use select streaming services without eating into your data.

Still, if you normally travel in the EU and don’t use streaming services on the go, you might be better off saving some money and going with an Essential plan instead.

Similarly, EE’s Feel at Home scheme aims to cover 80% of the destinations EE customers visit. But it’s only available on 4GEE Max plans, which generally cost a lot more.

For the extra outlay, a 4GEE Max plan will also get you EE’s fastest 4G speeds and a BT Sport subscription for the duration of your contract. But again, you’ll have to weigh up whether or not those benefits are worth paying more for.

If you’re planning a trip abroad and you’re still locked into a contract, you could get a one-month SIM-only deal or a pay as you go SIM plan that comes with inclusive roaming for your destination.

If, for example, you’re heading off to the USA for a fortnight and you’re currently on an O2 pay monthly contract, you have a couple of options. You could pay £4.99 a day for an O2 bolt-on that’ll give you 120 texts, 120 minutes and all the data you’ll need. Which would cost you a total of £69.86 over your two-week holiday.

Or you could get a one-month Three Advanced plan SIM that’ll give you inclusive roaming in the US. At the time of writing, you can get 600 minutes, unlimited texts plus a generous 8GB of data for just £14 on a one-month rolling contract. And so long as you cancel your contract with 30 days’ notice, this deal works out at £55.86 cheaper than using a bolt-on.

Want to know more? Take a look at our complete guide to roaming.

Category: Guides
back to top