What the heck is roaming? 

February 1, 2017

phone roaming

So you’ve made it to the hotel and resort. You’re browsing, checking emails, social media, and more. You’re even video calling your mum to prove that you arrived in one piece. But how does it work? Say thank you to roaming.

It’s not magic: though mobile network providers have some super-powers, our networks can’t come with you, overseas. That’s where roaming comes in.

You’ve probably heard horror stories of friends who have come back from their holidays complaining about unexpected data charges. So you might be curious to know if roaming is actually a good thing.

With Go Roam, you can do whatever you love on your phone, including posting envy-inducing, cocktail-sipping selfies. In 71 destinations around the world, including the USA, Spain, and Greece. Though if you do go abroad, you’ll need to know the lingo.

Check out our easy-to-understand guide on Roaming, everything you need to know.

So, what is roaming anyway?

When you go outside your mobile network provider’s coverage area, your device will start to “roam.” This means it will search through other available mobile networks and try to use them. Kind of like when you’re hungry and craving something you don’t have, so you have to settle for something else. Totally unsatisfying, and you end up rushing out to buy what you craved instead.

But we digress.

Roaming works because most mobile network providers have agreements with other mobile network providers outside the country. However, here comes the huge caveat: roaming abroad may come at an extra cost.

What are roaming charges?

If you’re roaming and outside the standard network, you can be charged for making calls and sending texts. It depends on the network you’re on. Checking your voicemail can also cost you, as can using apps, downloading pics and documents.

You can also get charged for browsing, or sending emails. You can forget about posting that bikini selfie to Snapchat, unless it’s so good it’s worth £1.20 for ego-boosting potential.

Pretty much everything you’d use your phone for is liable to cost you money when roaming. How much you’ll be charged for using data outside the UK is up to your mobile network provider.

Help! How do I stop this from happening?

We’ve all spent a holiday with a phone set to Aeroplane Mode, rushing from one Wi-Fi zone to the next. It’s cringe.

Another way to switch off roaming? Go to Settings and then Mobile Data on your iPhone, where you can toggle off Data Roaming.

When you switch off roaming, your device won’t be able to hook up to a network automatically. A great option when you’re in the dark whether network provider has additional charges for using data abroad.

Please, please tell me there is some way I can use data outside the UK?

Well, you’re in luck. At Three, we believe that being able to use your phone for whatever you need to abroad isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Because: Our lives are through connecting with those we love, these days. Those WhatsApp chats, that smiley photo, that emoji, could just make someone’s day. Also useful for serious life-saving feats. Like when you urgently need to access that email with important docs in.

That’s why we came up with Three Go Roam: 71 destinations where you can use your mobile phone or tablet to use the internet and call and text the UK.

So, whether you’re off to eat bagels in Boston or want to explore the wildlife on Kangaroo Island in Australia, Go Roam is here to make all your travel goals a reality.

Dreaming of the shopping in Hong Kong? Heard about the surfing in Sri Lanka? Go Roam works across all smartphones and tablets. If you’re a Pay As You Go customer, you’ll need to convert your credit into an Add-on to enjoy Go Roam on your next trip.

Travel that’s spontaneous, fun and with easy-to-manage costs. When can we leave?