Euro 2016 is kicking off on Friday so we’ve decided to make a roaming guide for you lucky lot heading out to France.
Euro 2016 is one of those events that will captivate the world, causing joy, tears and pure passion. To prevent any tears caused by looking at your phone bill, we at What Mobile have compiled a list together, outlining the precautions you can take to ensure you don’t get slapped with a massive bill, stay in contact and share your experience.
2015 was the year roaming charges were meant to be abolished. Unfortunately we have one more year of this archaic, stress-inducing, annoying charge. But things are better now, recently roaming charges have been cut by as much as 70% by the European Union. Complete abolishment of roaming charges will start on June 30th 2017, but there are already some networks that allow its customers to use UK allowances abroad.
Three offer arguably the best roaming plan for its customers. It has the much loved ‘Feel at Home’ feature allowing you to use your existing monthly plan in France and selected countries. So calls, texts and data can be used as if you were in Britain.
If you’re on Pay As You Go, add-ons can be purchased. You’ll be prompted to purchase an add-on upon topping up. If not you can purchase add-ons by simply logging into your Three account. Most add-ons last 30 days, plenty to last the duration of Euro 2016.
EE aren’t as generous as Three but the network automatically prevents roaming to stop accidental charges. EE contracts come in three tiers: EE Regular, EE Extra and EE Complete. Extra and Complete are eligible to use your UK bundle in selected European territories. So you need to check what type of contract you’re on.
Data isn’t included so you’ll have to purchase a Euro Pass, which will set you back £3 a day for 500MB of 4G data. You might want to hold off on your Snapchats until you’re in a Wi-Fi zone.
O2 customers can take advantage of bolt-ons when travelling to France. Pay monthly customers can pay £1.99 a day for O2 Travel, which is triggered once you use your device abroad. You’ll get 120 minutes, 120 texts and unlimited data.
Pay As You Go users can also use O2 Travel but will only get 100MB of data to play with. Allowances don’t carry over to the next day, they end at midnight UK time.
iD aren’t a household name but they do offer some great rates for going abroad. Carphone Warehouse created iD Mobile allowing roaming in 29 different countries. Its TakeAway plans are most suited for international roaming.
TakeAway plans are 12 month contracts and offer generous allowances. The plans range from £12.50 to £25 a month, offering up to 2000 minutes, 5000 texts and 10GB of data.
Vodafone has only recently started to really cater to roamers, with contracts starting after the 5th of May 2016, eligible for inclusive roaming. Those lucky enough to take out a Vodafone contract after the stated date, can use their UK contracted minutes, texts and data in France.
Vodafone EuroTraveller is the way to go for Pay As You Go users for £3 a day. Upon purchasing EuroTraveller, pre-purchased bundles will carry over with a nice 100MB extra of data on top.
Monthly contracts taken out before the 5th of May can use EuroTraveller as well with UK minutes, texts and data carried over.
Tesco Mobile are another champion of free roaming, adopting the same practice as Three with their ‘Home From Home’ scheme. It as it sounds, you’ll be bale to use your UK allowance abroad. So Intstagram like you’re back at home. There are 31 countries on the ‘Home From Home’ list, including France.
Pay As You Go users can still use PAYG bundles.
There isn’t much on offer from Virgin Media when it comes to backpacking around Europe. On a monthly contract you can make a call for 4p per minute and receiving calls is free. A text message will cost you 1p per text.
As for data you can buy the following Travel Passes:
10MB – £0.35
50MB – £1.50
250MB – £5
You can buy one of the above by texting for example: ‘BUY 10MB.’ The data will last 30 days and you can check how much you have left by texting ‘STATUS’ to 23456, free of charge.
If you’ve been with Virgin Media for less than three months, you may have to pay a £50 deposit.
Similar to Virgin Media you’ll be charges per call and text, but there is no data package to purchase. A call to mobile phones cost 5p, texts 8p and 2p to landlines.
Data roaming will burn you for £5 per MB. Ouch.
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