A recent introduction of new rules from the European Commission, mean that using your phone abroad is becoming less expensive than it once was. Additional charges are still in place, but in compliance with new rules, mobile phone providers can only charge a maximum addition of 4p per minute for a call (at the moment it is typically 16p across most networks), 1p to send a text and 4p per MB of data used. The cost of receiving a call is now 1p, or free depending on your provider. All providers have worked to adjust their call plans to ensure they are working within the new limits.
Using your phone when abroad has always been notoriously expensive, so it is about time the cost didn’t really change, allowing you to enjoy your phone, the same way you would at home. The agreement to abolish roaming charges was made in 2015, and will finally be put into practice. As many know, when you use your phone abroad, you leave your home networks and join another. this is known as roaming. Roaming charges are known to differ depending on country and network. Many people are extremely sceptical about using the internet on their phone when abroad as it is a stereotypical cause of steep bills. High bills can occur if a user is unaware of any hidden charges, particularly when browsing the internet. Unexpected high charges for using data has been nicknamed ‘bill shock’ after affecting so many people – so the change to roaming charges is bound to come as a relief.
It will now be up to mobile phone users to decide whether it is worth paying extra for holiday roaming deals or bolt ons . For example, EE’s additional travel package offers unlimited calls and 1o0 MB of data a day in Europe, coasting £4. Choosing whether this is a money saving option for you, all depends on how many calls you plan to make and how much data you need to use – a bit here and there would mean the extra cost is no longer worth it.
From 30th April, the new, cheaper prices for data roaming have been in place, but next year things are set to change again. On June 1st 2017, roaming charges are set to disappear altogether, and using your phone abroad will actually be the same as your home network. As it is a change commission by the European union, the abolition of roaming charges will only apply within Europe, and so those travelling to the likes of Australia, US and Asia should still check the charges.
Checking providers for the best deals is always advisable when going abroad. For example, if there is no wifi available where you are going, and you know you will be using a lot of data to update Facebook or send e-mails, you would be best to find a bolt-on that provides a decent amount of data. For overall value, it seems that Tesco Mobile are presenting the best deal at the moment, announcing this week that it is scrapping extra roaming charges for its customers travelling to any of 31 European countires from 23rd May until midnight of September 1st. It seems that the supermarket has decided to go one better than the rest, so users can get a taste of what’s to come in 2017. Even better, Tesco’s new ‘home from home’ perk will be added automatically for all users. Tesco’s chief marketing officer has explained their motives behind the early change; ‘we want our customers to enjoy their holiday without having to worry about the cost of using their phones.’ To congratulate their forward thinking, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com, Ernest Doku has said; ‘hats off to Tesco Mobile, which has even beaten the European Commission to ensure roaming costs no extra for Brits across the entire EU, as well as EEA.’