Avoid extra costs on holiday as networks backtrack on EU roaming charges pledge
PLANNING a holiday on the Continent? Beware: you could face a bigger phone bill in EU countries than you expected.
Several networks have decided to backtrack on pledges not to charge more to roam in Europe post-Brexit.
Families face EU roaming costs of more than £100 for a two-week holiday from January, as EE and Vodafone whack some customers with daily charges.
Although the two other big mobile firms Three and O2 still say they will not introduce roaming charges, both are slashing their customers’ data allowances.
Three has almost halved its data limit for EU roaming, from 20GB to 12GB per month.
That 12GB could be used up by streaming just two HD movies — which many families do on holiday — after which they would have to pay £3 per gigabyte to use extra data.
02 has cut roaming from unlimited to 25GB, charging £3.50 per gigabyte for extra use.
ALL Brits with a limited data allowance on EVERY network generally have to pay around £3 to £3.50 per gigabyte when they go over their limit while in Europe. Charges are much higher outside the EU.
As some hotels have bad free wifi or charge daily fees for room wifi and limit the number of devices used, some guests choose not to use their hotel’s internet connection and use phone data only.
Holidaymakers need to remember that all data use on their phones — including by children and partners — counts towards their use, as does using your phone as a hotspot, for example for iPad or laptop use.
Remember, video calls, uploading phone videos and gaming all gobble up data.
Despite post-Brexit roaming fee changes, mobile firms must continue to alert customers if they hit £45 of roaming data use, and ask them if they want to continue using data.
Price comparison service Uswitch said: “Check with your network before you go abroad to make sure you do not get any surprising charges.”
THREE: The company has reduced its data limit for EU roaming from 20GB to 12GB per month. £3 per gigabyte charges apply for extra data.
O2: The firm has cut its Euro roaming allowance from un-limited to 25GB, charging £3.50 per gigabyte for additional use.
EE: Roaming charges of £2 a day in the EU will start in January on some deals for new customers and existing users who renew contracts. The charge means a family of four, all with new or renewed EE contracts which charge for roaming, would face paying £112 to use phones daily on a 14-day hol in the EU.
Users can lower fees by buying a £10 Roam Abroad add-on covering a month’s roaming.
Customers on Smart Benefits contracts can choose a free Roam Abroad pass to avoid EU charges. Data use is cut off at a customer’s monthly data roaming limit of 50GB and they must then buy a data add-on to use more data.
VODAFONE: Fees of £2-a-day to roam in the EU begin in January for Vodafone users on cheaper contracts. This will affect new customers and existing users when they upgrade.
Costs can be cut as low as £1-a-day by buying roaming passes allowing eight days’ use for £8, or 15 days’ use for £15.
Xtra Airtime or 4 Xtra benefits plan customers get free roaming.
The data limit is 25GB, with £3.13 per GB charges above that.
OTHERS: Tesco, Virgin, Talk Talk, Sky, BT, Plusnet and Giffgaff all allow free EU roaming on some or all contracts, and have not yet announced any changes.
1 HOUR OFSTREAMING: WHAT DATA DOES IT USE?
Up to 7GB
Up to 3GB
Up to 300MB
Up to 300MB
Up to 120MB
Source: Netflix data analysts
'Careful on limits'
JO and Andy Raw set mobile data use limits to avoid extra charges on their family holiday in Greece this week.
The teacher duo reckon it is unfair of the telecoms giants to hit loyal customers with roaming charges and data cutbacks in the wake of Brexit.
The couple fear their mobile provider, Sky, will bring in fees for Europe although the firm said it will let customers use their allowance in the EU for free. Jo and Andy, pictured, from Whitby, North Yorks, went to Kos with their kids Harry, seven, and Emmy, five.
Jo, 38, who has 6GB of data monthly, said: “We were careful not to go over our allowances while roaming. We put limits on data as we had an iPad the kids can use via a hotspot from our Sky phones.”
Andy, also 38, who has 4GB data, said: “It’s disappointing that operators are cutting allowances and starting to charge for roaming in Europe again. I’m worried Sky will be next –f and that would add to holiday costs.”
HOW TO AVOID EXTRA COSTS
- Wherever possible, use hotel and restaurant wifi.
- Set up a data alert at 90 per cent of your monthly allowance to make sure you do not go over it.
- Add an extra data fee cap to stop you running up a bigger bill.
- Turn off data . . . the nuclear option if the kids have the phone.
- If you have a low data allowance, download apps and Google maps for your holiday area before leaving this country.
- If you face EE and Vodafone roaming charges from January, put your phone in aeroplane mode for your hols and upload your pictures when you get home.
Town and out
LLOYDS Bank runs more than half of the UK’s bank branches which are the last ones in their community.
The bank has 118 “last in town” branches, out of the national total of 203, figures supplied by banks to MPs show. It means Lloyds, with 1,567 in total, has been doing more than others in keeping these branches open.
Santander has six of 450 branches, NatWest 46 of 833 and TSB three of 290.
Barclays has 738 branches but did not tell the parliamentary committee how many were the last in their community.
Barclays did tell the MPs that 50 years ago nearly 90 per cent of all transactions were done in branch but today that figure is below ten per cent.
ZERO sugar Coca-Cola fans can get a free 500ml bottle until 11:59pm on August 29.
See thiscokeisonus.com to find participating stores including Co-op, Tesco, Boots and more.
Vouchers will be emailed and can only be claimed on the day.
Pro fraudsters taking the PIN
I SEE scams every day on social media.
But there is a dangerous new breed of influencer appearing that threatens even more chaos.
It was highlighted on TV just this week. “Professional fraudsters” advertise openly and make their money selling a product you are familiar with: YOU.
They gather your information – from social media, data breaches and even stolen letters. They package it up to sell to anyone who will pay – often for £50 or so. And they will even throw in a how-to guide to scam you.
We have reported a few of these in recent weeks. One sold a guide to sending dodgy texts. Another offered a step-by-step guide to stealing cash from ATMs.
The worst are those selling personal data used to hit you with fraud attacks, including making purchases online with your cards and tricking you with cold calls.
One customer of ours was hit with a “safe account” scam this week, hours after her card details were stolen and used online. Before we refunded her, she was down £8,000 to criminals.
Keep your information private. Don’t overshare on social media and change passwords regularly. Use two-factor authentication on every account you can.
And don’t be tempted to join the fraudsters, even if you are offered a quick way to make a few quid placing orders online with fake details. The police are watching. And so are we.
O2 CUSTOMERS can get a free Odeon ticket on a Monday through the Priority app.
Only 10,000 codes are released on Tuesdays at noon for the following Monday, so sign in to grab one.
Book by 11:59pm the night before your film to redeem.
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