Best UK Networks for Using Data Abroad

Best UK Networks for Using Data Abroad

Best UK Networks for Using Data Abroad

If you’re traveling abroad in Europe this year, it is important to understand your mobile phone plan.

Additionally, you should be aware of your provider’s policy on data roaming to avoid being stung with unexpected charges.

‘Data roaming’ is when your mobile phone connects to a network in a different country, since UK network providers have contracts with providers abroad so that you don’t lose connection.   

Experts at eSIM provider, Holafly, have looked at some of the most popular UK mobile networks, to reveal just how much customer could be unknowingly rack up in charges if they use data roaming when travelling in Europe. 


O2 customers can use their data from their pay monthly contract as they normally would up to a limit of 25GB limit, according to O2’s Roaming Fair Usage Policy. If customers exceed this data roaming limit over a 63-day period while abroad, they will then be charged £3.50 for every additional GB of data used.  

Pay as you go customers can also use data roaming in the same way up to the 25GB cap. 


EE customers can use their data allowance in the European roaming zone for £2.47 per day up to 50GB per month as part of their monthly contract. To opt in, customers don’t need to do anything, and if you don’t use your data abroad, then you won’t be charged this daily fee. However, it’s not clear from their site how much you would have to pay should you exceed the 50GB fair usage allowance.  

Those heading abroad for more than a week may want to consider purchasing the Roam Abroad Pass for £25 per month. This allows you to use your monthly data plan in Europe without the daily charge. For those travelling abroad for two weeks who intend to use data every day, this works out nearly £10 cheaper, compared to paying £34.58 if you were to stick with the £2.47 daily flat rate. 

Pay As You Go customers will receive a text to opt in to either a Roam like Home for 24 hours plan for £2.50 a day or a Roam like Home plan for £10, which covers you for 7 days. 


Three Pay Monthly customers will be charged a daily roaming fee of £2 per day, with a limit of 12GB of your plan. Beyond this, data roaming is charged at 10p per MB, meaning customers would be charged £10 per additional GB of data used abroad. 

Pay As You Go Three customers will receive a text confirming the roaming charges in that country.  


Vodafone charges their contract customers £2.42 a day or £12 for 8 days or £17 for 15 days to roam in the EU, with a data limit of 25GB. Pay As You Go customers can purchase a Europe Roaming Extra from £12 for 8 days.  

Tesco Mobile 

Tesco Mobile customers face no roaming fees and no fair use data caps until 2025, so they can use their data as they normally would at home.  


Voxi customers will need to add a European Roaming Pass to their plan, which are available from £2.45 a day, or for £12 for an 8-day pass or £17 for a 15-day pass.  

Asda Mobile 

SIM plan customers can continue their plan at no extra cost in 46 select European countries, with a data roaming limit of up to 5GB. Over this, usage will cost 10p per MB, which is the same as Asda’s UK rates, equating to a £10 surcharge for every additional GB of data used abroad.  


Contract and Pay As You Go customers of Giffgaff face no extra fees when roaming in the EU up to 5GB. Beyond this, customers will be charged 10p per MB for data usage, equating to a £10 surcharge for every additional GB of data used abroad.  

A number of network providers have no extra charges for customers; however, they do have fair use data caps. These include iD Mobile, which has a 30GB cap and a extra usage cost of 10p per MB (£10 per GB) and Lebara, which also has a 30GB cap, but an extra usage cost of just 0.2p per MB (£2 per GB). 

Lycamobile’s fair usage cap depends on the customer’s plan and both Smarty and Superdrug Mobile have 12GB fair usage caps, where an EU data pass or data add-on will need to be purchased to continue roaming. 

Tips For Avoiding Unexpected Data Roaming Costs 

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Understand Your Plan 

Before leaving the UK, make sure that you understand your mobile phone plan, especially your network’s ‘fair use’ policy which may charge you high costs for exceeding your data roaming allowance in Europe.  

Contact your mobile network provider if you are still unsure of your data roaming allowances and potential costs.  

Be Prepared 

Consider purchasing a travel pass if you plan to frequently data roam abroad as this may be more cost effective.  

Alternatively, if you are planning to avoid any unexpected costs, disable data roaming in your mobile phone settings.   

Don’t forget to save and screenshot important information, such as hotel addresses and booking confirmations at home using WiFi to access these documents offline abroad. You can also download specific maps from Google Maps for offline use.  

If you are unsure on your network’s data roaming charges, switch off data roaming in your mobile’s settings before your flight and wait until you have access to WiFi so that you can research it. 

Monitor Data Usage 

When you’re abroad, keep track of your data usage through your phone’s settings to know when you’re near or exceeding your fair usage limit. 

In your phone’s settings, you can also turn off background data for non-essential apps to reduce data consumption. 

Use Messaging Apps 

Apps such as Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger allow you to message and call others over free WiFi without risking international calling charges. Download these apps before you leave and connect to your hotel WiFi to do this. 

CMO and co-founder Pedro Máiquez at Holafly, commented: 

“Travelling abroad can lead to unexpected mobile phone costs, so it is essential to understand your network’s plan to avoid any large bills. Taking these steps before you set off can minimise your risk of unexpected costs and help you be more in control of your data usage. 

“This guide can offer guidance or new knowledge of your network’s dating roaming policy abroad, however, if you are still unsure then it is worth contacting your provider directly.”

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Anas Bouargane

Business Expert

Anas is the founder of CEF Académie, a platform that provides guidance and support for those willing to study in France. He previously interned at Unissey. Anas holds a bachelor degree in economics, finance and management from the University of Toulon.

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