In the past, I’ve tried to avoid nasty surprises on holiday by refusing to use my mobile outside a wi-fi zone, so it’s nice to think that with new EU roaming regulations in place, I have a bit more freedom. But, this change hasn’t necessarily ended bill-shock…
Having recently returned from Greece and experienced the delights of reading restaurant reviews, booking an excursion and checking the news from the comfort of the local beach, I can say I’m all for fairer rules for roaming.
But the one thing I had to keep reminding myself was ‘yes, Greece is definitely part of the EU’ (it’s amazing what the threat of bill shock can do to your memory). But, you still need to be on the ball when using your phone abroad.
If you’re holidaying close to a border, or even on a cruise, you could find that while you may be within the EU, your phone has had other plans and connected to a network outside of the EU.
And some places that you may think are included under these rules – Turkey, for example, could trip you up. Turkey isn’t a member of the European Union and therefore isn’t counted under the new EU rules.
Another thing to look out for is calling abroad from the UK. Watch out in particular if you’re with one of the ‘big four’ operators as well. We checked to see how much it would cost to call a Spanish mobile from the UK, and even though Giffgaff, for example, uses O2’s network, it charges its customers 9p a minute to call a Spanish number compared to £1.50 with O2. And this is a common trend.
Navigating the rules
At present, prices, deals, add-ons and included destinations vary so much across every provider it’s a nightmare trying to find the best deal, and there’s no obvious reason why things have to be so complicated. Without paying careful attention to what your provider offers you it could end up costing a fair whack.
For example, roaming outside the EU in some of your favourite holiday destinations could cost up to £18.75 for a single megabyte of data, or £5 for a minute on the phone. Plus there’s the concern about receiving calls and how much that might cost as well.
We’ve looked at costs for all the main networks in non-EU holiday destinations to find out which mobile provider is best for holidays, and found some rather nasty surprises.
You’re safer staying closer to home, but our guide to EU roaming and international calls explained still reveals some uncomfortable truths. For example, if you get complacent and blast through your included bundle on holiday in the EU, ‘regular’ costs vary quite a bit – from 55p to 3p a minute for calls, in fact, and 10p to 1p for one megabyte of data.
How do you fare using your mobile travelling abroad? Do you just avoid it altogether, have you changed since the new regulations have come in, or been hit by unexpected bills? What do you think providers could and should be doing to make our lives easier?