For those who are lovers of Blue Passports, you would have noticed EE/BT and Vodafone adding Mobile Phone Roaming charges back in.
Well, it seems that Three UK is now joining the party, with plans to change their roaming pricing.
From 23rd May, 2022 customers who have taken out a new contract or upgraded with Three from 1st October, 2021 will be required to pay to use their voice and data aboard
When roaming in the European Union area, this will be £2 a day. Outside the EU, it will cost £5 a day when roaming.
Pay as you go customers and customers who have taken out a contract before 1 October 2021 are unaffected by these changes.
Customers roaming in the Republic of Ireland are also unaffected.
In a statement Three bleated the following excuse
We know that Go Roam has always been important to our customers and we had hoped to retain this benefit, but unfortunately there are now too many unknowns, which has made it commercially unviable for us to continue. This includes variations to the underlying cost of roaming, meaning we now have no visibility over the maximum amount it will cost us to provide a service for our customers to use their phone while abroad.
We want to keep our roaming pricing as simple and affordable for customers as possible, and we think a flat charge of £2 in the EU and £5 outside the EU reflects this. It also means only those who roam will pay for the service, rather than customers who stay in the UK also absorbing this cost.
They go on to say
We are investing billions of pounds in improving our network and infrastructure and already offer some of the most cost-effective deals on the market – implementing a separate roaming fee will enable us to continue to do this.
Three down – one to go
Well, that was fun whilst it lasted. Out of the major providers, only O2 hasn’t crumbled yet – but I would strongly expect them to follow.
The MVNO’s will follow in due course -so check when they make their announcements (MNVO’s in this case include Virgin, Lebra, Giffgaff, Voxi, Smarty, LycaMobile.
Is there any point with staying with Three?
For a lot of people, the main purpose of switching to Three was to take advantage of the cheap roaming. With cheap or low-cost roaming gone, it’s one less excuse for someone to stay with a carrier.
And that could be the excuse for people to move (with Three’s network coverage being “more than variable”
If roaming is part of your contract make-up, it will be your interest to see if it is retained going forward or if they modify the terms and conditions later on.
What can I do to lower the costs?
If you’re a legacy Three customer, firstly, don’t let go of that tariff they sold you. They will have to honour the terms of the contract you signed.
If you’re disappointed, consider switching networks if it suits your needs. Coverage is important when at home, so ensure areas you live and travel to have reasonable coverage (this is where investing in a Pay-as-you-go Sim card may help to determine the network quality).
The other things to consider are
- Personal Hotspots such as the SkyRoam devices I tested some time ago
- eSim Services (if your phone supports them – Apple has a list at https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT209096
- Pay-As-You-Go local sim cards could be a thing again – remember zero-cost European roaming is still a thing.
Disclosure: I am currently a Three Contract customer. Although it could be time to go to eSIM’s and be done with it after today’s announcement.
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