Vodafone roaming: What do the charges mean for my phone bill? What do other phone networks charge?

Credit: PA

Vodafone has become the second major UK network to reintroduce roaming charges for UK customers who are travelling in Europe from next year.

New and upgrading customers will soon have to pay up to £2 per day to use their monthly allowance of data, calls and texts, in the latest post-Brexit blow.

Vodafone follows in the footsteps of BT-owned EE, which was the first to announce the reintroduction of roaming charges in June.

Roaming fees when travelling across Europe ended in June 2017, allowing consumers to continue using their mobile plan in other EU nations at no additional cost, with a fair use limit.

Vodafone roaming charges: Will I be affected?

New Vodafone customers who join on or after August 11 will be affected by the change.

It does not include existing customers and anyone on the company’s Xtra plans, however if anyone upgrades and renews their contract from August 11 they will also have to pay.

Anyone who upgrades and renews their contract from the same date will also have to pay roaming charges. Credit: Press Association

So, if your contract ends and you leave it rolling and unchanged, you will not fall under the new rules.

The charges do not come into effect until January 6 2022.

How much are the Vodafone roaming charges?

A daily fee of £2 will apply to use your full EE data, minutes and text allowance when travelling to affected countries in the EU.

But there are multi-day passes which can be purchased in advance that work out £1 per day – these are available for eight day or 15 day bundles.

Those on the firm’s more expensive Xtra plans will still have roaming included, while the Republic of Ireland will be exempt for all customers.

Vodafone said fewer than half of its customers roamed beyond the Republic of Ireland in 2019.

Which countries will I now be charged for roaming on Vodafone?

Credit: AP

The charges will apply to European destinations, though the Republic of Ireland is exempt.

The full list within Vodafone’s "Europe Zone" include: Aland Islands, Austria, Azores, Balearic Islands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus except Northern Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France (including Corsica), French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, St Barthelemy, St Martin, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City.

Which UK phone networks are charging for roaming?

BT-owned EE announced plans to reintroduce roaming charges for Europe back in June, starting at £2 per day – though EE also has bundle passes to reduce the overall cost.

O2 and Three have avoided going down the same route, so far, and are sticking to fair use limits, which is not out of the ordinary, as this is in line with existing EU rules.

Three’s fair use cap was lowered from 20GB to 12GB a month in July - and O2 has a 25GB limit.

EE had previously said it would not be reintroducing roaming charges. Credit: PA

Paolo Pescatore, an analyst from PP Foresight, said consumers should fully expect others to follow suit.

"Phone users will now need to be savvier when travelling aboard," he said.

"Some will have roaming included on higher priced plans and premium devices, while others will be forced to look at switching to wifi and take out local e-sim options."

How can I avoid roaming charges in the EU?

Vodafone customers should consider adding the eight or 15-day passes for longer trips in EU countries, which will reduce the daily cost to £1.

Many hotels and restaurants offer free wifi these days, so make good use of that.

You could look into switching to another network provider.

Those travelling to Dubrovnik in Croatia will also be affected by the latest roaming charges. Credit: AP

Ensure roaming data is switched off in your smartphone’s settings if unsure to avoid any nasty surprises. Or ultimately, switch your phone off altogether and enjoy your trip without any disturbances.

"When it comes to travelling, don’t leave it till the last minute to check the roaming charges for your destination, and always use hotel and cafe wifi when on holiday where possible," warned Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com.

What has Vodafone said about the latest roaming charges?

"Rather than have all of our customers affected by including the additional costs of roaming into all of our tariffs, customers will be able to choose a plan that comes with roaming included, or purchase an additional roaming pass," a spokesman said.

They added: "Our ambition is to ensure customers don’t ever experience ‘bill shock’ when roaming with Vodafone, because all of our plans and passes will have clear usage caps, and customers will also be able to set their own limits via Vodafone Spend Manager, which is free to set up via the My Vodafone App."

Those who remain on their existing price plan will not be affected until they make changes.