Going on holiday doesn’t have to mean sky-high roaming charges for phone calls and 4G data. These days it’s possible to use your normal plan even when travelling. We explain the Go Roam feature that’s available to customers on the Three network.
What is roaming?
Roaming is the service that allows you to continue using your phone once you’ve left your home country. This means you can still call, text, and access the internet without having to change your SIM or handset.
In the past this could rack up quite expensive bills, but changes in legislation mean that this isn’t necessarily the case any more. That being said, it’s still a good idea to know exactly what you can and cannot do before you head off on your adventures.
How does roaming work on Three?
The chances are your phone is already primed and ready to go, but if you want to make sure then open the Three app and go to My3 Account>Phone Settings, and look in the Using your phone abroad section.
Three offers two kinds of tariffs, Essential and Advanced, each of which has different provisions for roaming.
Three Essential plans
Those on an Essential plan have access to the Go Roam in Europe service. This allows you to make calls, texts, and use their normal data when in the EU, without any additional costs.
The Three website states;
"With Go Roam in Europe you can use your allowances to call and text back to the UK and use your data (up to a fair use limit), as well as make calls and send texts between our Go Roam in Europe destinations, and it won't cost you a penny more. If you don't have any allowance left, you'll also benefit from special roaming rates."
The fair use limit mentioned is currently 13GB for monthly plans and 12GB for PAYG. Even if your plan gives you more than those amounts, you’ll be capped until you return to the UK.
Should you go over this limit then you could end up paying fees that range from 50p per MB up to a crippling £6 per MB. The better option would be to buy one of Three’s Data Passports. These allow unlimited data for £5 per day, and can be bought whenever you need them so long as you are on a monthly plan rather than PAYG.
One word of warning though, once the clock hits midnight (UK time) your data will revert to local charges. So be sure you know when that will be, otherwise a nasty surprise could greet you when your next bill arrives.
Three states that its Control your Spend blocks don’t work with roaming, meaning you’ll need to remain vigilant when using your phone abroad. Calls, texts, and photos can be received for free, so long as you remain in one of the countries included in the Go Roam areas.
These cover 49 countries, including some of those not in the EU such as Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway. To confirm whether your destination is included in the Go Roam feature visit Three’s Roaming checker.
If you are travelling outside of Europe, then the Data Passport route is the one to take, or you could follow the advice given in our guide to making free calls in the UK and abroad.
Three Advanced plans
As well as including Go Roam in Europe, those on Advanced plans can use the Go Roam Around the World service. This extends the available countries by an additional 22 destinations. It doesn’t work in quite the same way as its European counterpart, in that calls and texts back to the UK are the only ones included, not other countries within the Go Roam area.
Again, the website states, "If you’re in one of our Go Roam Around the World destinations you can also use your allowances to call and text the UK and use your data at no extra cost."
It is free to receive calls and texts while in the Go Roam destinations though, so that makes it easier to stay in contact with home.
The fair use limit for data on this service is 12GB, and for those with tariffs that include all-you-can-eat texts there are 5000 available. Finally, users with 3000 minutes of calls or more on their plan can use up to a maximum of 3000 of them while away.
Three has documented most of this on its About Go Roam page, and we suggest visiting it before you ship out as there are a few exemptions and stipulations specific to certain areas and situations.
If you know the rules, and abide by them, then it should mean that your holiday goes off without a hitch, and you can show your friends what a great time you’re having. Poolside pics, ahoy!
To make the most of your two weeks in the sun, you'll want to check out our Best travel apps guide, so your phone is ready for anything the world has in store.
Also check out our guides to roaming on other networks: