These new EU roaming regulations sound like good news for us, but what's really going on? And what's the difference between Three's Feel At Home at the new Roam Like At Home regs? We spell it all out for you, and tell you everything you need to know whether you're on one of our Advanced and Essential plans or if you're a PAYG customer. Notepads at the ready...
There’s a big change afoot in mobile land, and it affects all of us. As of June 15, the way we’re able to use our phones abroad is going to be different – by law.
Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening to your roaming abroad and how Three – ever the leader when it comes to encouraging customers to Go Roam – is changing to include more destinations than ever before across the globe. Not ’cause we’re legally bound to. But because we believe that’s what’s right for our travel-loving customers. Here’s what you need to know.
Feel At Home
Anyway you slice it, Three is the network that pioneered Feel At Home, giving our customers that warm, fuzzy feeling whenever they went abroad and came home without extortionate roaming-related phone bills following suit. We came up with the concept in 2013, and have been letting our customers surf, text and chronicle every moment of their very precious holiday time, using their phones just like they would in the UK.
In exciting news, Feel At Home is now covering 60 destinations as of June, including our newest destinations: Brazil, Singapore and the French West Indies (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, San Marino), as well as the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea.
It’s available to all Advanced Plan customers, who can call and text the UK without it costing them an extra penny. Starting in June, our Essential Plan customers will also be able to roam like locals in EU/EEA destinations, too. However, Essential Plan customers will still have to pay for all calls, texts and data at the standard rate when travelling in other Feel At Home destinations like the USA or Australia.
Feel At Home works within one country for up to two months at a time – it’s awesome, but not meant for permanent roaming.
Roam Like At Home: what the heck is that?
Some companies lead, others follow. We like you to roam free ’cause that’s just us. Other mobile providers give you roaming benefits because they have to. And as of June 15th, 2017, they will have to, thanks to a new EU regulation known as ‘Roam Like At Home’ (not to be confused with Feel At Home!).
Roam Like At Home requires network providers to charge the same for data, calls and texts across all EU and EEA destinations.
Under these new regs, across most European countries, you’ll be able to call and text back to the UK at no extra cost. You’ll also be able to call and text other EU/EEA countries – for nada. This will apply to all existing customers, including those on Essential Plans.
You’ll also have a Fair Use Policy (to replace the current Excessive Use Policy) with 12GB of data to cover any social media posting you may require on your trip abroad (PAYG customers get 9GB). If you go over that amount – but stick within your data limit – you’ll be charged 0.73p/MB for all EU destinations and 0.6p for all non-EU EEA destinations like Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Turning yourself into an influencer with selfie overload on your trip to Paris? Not to worry. You’ll be charged at our usual 3-2-1 rates (3p per minute for calls, 2p per text, and 1p per MB of browsing) for any out-of-bundle browsing. Going somewhere? This handy link lets you see how much you’ll be charged according to your Three plan, based on destination. Pretty nifty, huh?
Exceptions to the roaming regs
Anyone a fan of Formula One or just want to walk in the footsteps of the divine Princess Grace? A trip to Monaco will be gorgeous… and expensive. Even when it comes to your phone.
The principality isn’t covered by Roam Like At Home OR Feel At Home, and you’ll be charged 10p per minute to call the UK, Monaco or your VM, as well as 10p/MB of data used. Texting the UK/Monaco will cost 4p a text and receiving calls will be 1p a minute. You can receive texts for free, however. But it looks like that photo of you sunning yourself on a billionaire’s yacht will have to wait until you’re back in the UK to get posted. Same applies if you visit Andorra.
Also note that Switzerland isn’t part of the EU/EEA but is a happy member of Three’s Feel At Home Family.
Other things to remember? Calls from the UK to any EU/EEA destinations won’t be included as part of the new rules, and will be charged at the standard international calling rate.
While roaming in the EU, calls to 084 or 087 numbers are also outside of the allowance and will be charged at 3.9p per minute.
Roam Like At Home (and Feel At Home) for PAYG customers
Pay As You Go customers will also enjoy more freedom under the new set of regulations. From 15th June, they’ll be able to use their Add-ons in the EU/EEA to roam at no extra cost, or to use PAYG credit in EU/EEA countries at 3-2-1 rates.
Under the new Fair Use Policy, PAYG customers will have a data allowance up to 9GB (and will be subject to a surcharge for going over this, even within their Add-on allowance). When using cash credit to get online, PAYG customers won’t face any data restrictions.
For example, if you’re on holiday in Spain and need to book a tapas bar for your dinner that evening, you’ll be charged 3p a minute for your call using your cash top-up. If you’re using an Add-On (which includes minutes), the call will come out of that and you won’t be charged anything extra. And if that tapas bar happens to be in New Mexico or any other Feel at Home destination, you’ll be charged the Feel At Home roaming rate.
All Pay As You Go SIMs must be activated in the UK before being used abroad.
Main pic: Pexels via Unsplash