Archive for the ‘roaming’ tag
Three UK announced that Spain and New Zealand will be part of Feel at Home programme from April this year which means they will become roaming-free zones for Three’s customers.
Holiday-makers are one of the consumer groups that have been recently pampered by all operators. All main mobile providers have some sort of deal that allows customers use their allowance when going abroad or use preferential rates (in case of PAYG SIM cards users). Customers not only can call, text and browse the Internet at standard rates but they also don’t have to pay for incoming texts and calls. In the beginning this was the result of new roaming regulations introduced by the EU, however, right now mobile operators extend their roaming services to countries all over the world.
One of such programmes is Three’s Feel at Home. Currently it allows contract customers to use their allowance in 16 countries without any additional costs. PAYG SIM card owners can also benefit from Feel at Home, but they need to convert their credit to add-ons in order to do so. The Feel at Home countries encompass 4 continents and include such countries like France, the USA, Israel, Hong Kong, and the Republic of Ireland. Dave Dyson, Three’s CEO, said that Feel at Home is a very popular service and since its launch over a million customers used it. Additionally, countries include in this programme equals roughly 50% of all foreign travels of Three customers.
The addition of Spain and New Zealand to the Feel at Home range before the summer holiday season is great news for consumers. While New Zealand is not the first-choice summer destination, Spain definitely is. The country is one of the most popular spots for Brits as an estimated 13 million people from the UK are expected to spend some time sunbathing in Spain. This is why Dyson predicts that due to the addition of Spain and New Zealand the service will be used by around 70% of all Three customers that go overseas.
Three’s Feel at Home offer is one of the best available on the market as both pay as you go SIM cards and postpaid SIM cards are eligible and most importantly it is offered free of charge. We are going to see more of these kinds of deals from other operators in the near future as roaming fees will have to be phased out by December in accordance with the EU’s vision of Connected Continent.
Vodafone plans to add another 17 countries to its 4G roaming mobile coverage by the end of this year.
Thanks to Vodafone’s Europe Zone and World Traveller deals, the customers may use their standard contract allowance when travelling outside the UK. It comes with a daily fee of £3 for Europe and £5 for the rest of the world. The deal is limited to a specific number of countries in which Vodafone has signed appropriate deals for 4G mobile coverage.
Now Vodafone announced that in time for Christmas and New Year, it will extend its deals to 17 new countries which means that customers will be able to use their British allowance in 40 foreign countries. New destinations that will offer 4G mobile coverage for Vodafone consumers are: Antigua and Barbuda, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Fiji, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Apart from the possibility to use contract minutes, texts and data bundles abroad, Vodafone contract customers will not be charged for receiving texts or calls and they will pay the Europe Zone or World Traveller deals only for the days they use mobiles abroad.
Vodafone’s timing is not a coincidence as roughly four million Brits go abroad during the Christmas and New Year period, so some of them might actually benefit from new countries being included in the Europe Zone and World Traveller deals still in 2014.
If you are a pay as you go customer, O2 offers 50MB of data in the EU for £2, while contract customers will get unlimited data for one day at the same price.
O2 UK decided to update its data roaming deals and add a new cheap and simple deal both for Pay Monthly and Pay & Go tariffs. This new O2 Travel tariff costs just short of £2 and gives O2 pay as you go SIM card users 50MB of data to be used all around Europe. This is a good value-for-money service as standard EU data rate is 19c per MB, in short 50 MB would cost you five times more! In the case of Pay Monthly tariff, unlimited data in Europe costs £2 a day.
There are two things you need to remember when selecting this data roaming service. First, you need to have O2 Travel activated to be able to turn on the deal. In the case of PAYG SIM cards, you try to activate it by texting TRAVELON to 21300 or check it by calling customer service on 4445. Contract customers can check it on MYO2 or call customer services; however, some contracts cannot use O2 Travel. Second, in both situations, PAYG and PAYM, the deal lasts from 00.00 to 23.59 UK time, so don’t turn it on just before midnight. This also means that if you use pay as you go SIM card then try to use your allowance before midnight as otherwise you will lose it.
The idea behind the £2 O2 Travel roaming deal came after the operator conducted a research that showed that a vast majority of travellers leave their phones at a hotel when going sightseeing. Simultaneously the same group of people admitted that they feel that they lack source of information about food establishments or directions. The O2 deal is supposed to provide solution to these issues as each data roaming can give even PAYG SIM card users a confidence that they can use their smartphones abroad and not worry about exuberant costs.
Nina Bibby, Marketing and Consumer Director at O2 said: “People use their mobiles as a source of information on a daily basis; we believe it should be no different when they are on holiday. By giving our customers access to all the data they need for just £1.99 a day when they are in Europe, we are offering them a worry free way to get the most out of their smartphones, whether it’s looking for a great place to eat, or navigating the streets of an unfamiliar city.”
Using your phone abroad will be cheaper this summer as new roaming caps for the European Union will be introduced tomorrow.
According to the new legal regulations, you should not be charged more than 15p (€0.19) + VAT per minute to make a call when you are anywhere inside the European Union. Rates for receiving calls when abroad were cut to maximum of 4p (€0.05) + VAT, while roaming cap for text message was set to around 5p (€0.06). These rates are universal and should be used for both contract customers and PAYG SIM card users.
More importantly the European Parliament also tackled roaming data costs and lowered them significantly. Up until now the cap was set to €0.45 but new regulation brings it down to just €0.20, so roughly 16p. Moreover, mobile operators are obliged to cut you off if you spend more than £40 (€50) on data as long as you haven’t decided to increase this limit.
Remember that costs are usually much higher when you use your phone outside the EU. We recommend checking your operators roaming rates when going abroad. Bear in mind that such countries like Switzerland, Norway, Turkey and most Balkan states are not member states of the European Union, so even though they are European countries mobile roaming caps do not function there.
Meanwhile, many customers are not aware of the fact that they can challenge their operators if they had been charged more than the maximum rates stated by the EU law. Roughly around 40% of respondent of a recent study said that they didn’t know they could fight with their operators if they had been charged too much while on holiday, while more than 25% spent, on average, 40 pounds more when travelling abroad.
Lyca has a deal on offer that lets its customers get rid of roaming charges when using phone in Ireland and Poland.
It is a common knowledge that the cheapest way of calling and texting when abroad is to get a local PAYG SIM card and use it during the duration of your stay abroad. While this simple solution is a real money-saver, there are a lot of drawbacks connect with it. For example, you would need a double-SIM card phone to be able to switch to your British PAYG SIM card now and again to keep in touch with your British number. Alternatively, you could be switching the cards manually, but this is troublesome and gives too much hassle for most people. Another issue is the money that is left on your local PAYG SIM card account when you get back home. Lyca has taken advantage of its global scope and took all the upsides of having local pay-as-you go SIM card while removing all the nuisances.
The deal offered by Lyca, called “2 in 1”, is based on adding a local number to your British Lycamobile PAYG SIM card. This way you can avoid paying roaming fees and enjoy the same low-cost calls, texts and data as in the UK. Unfortunately, this service is only available in two countries so far – Ireland and Poland. To activate the service you can contact customer service on 322 from your Lycamobile number, but you need to be in the UK to do so. Another way is to send a text SUB 353 (for Ireland) or SUB 48 (for Poland) to 3225. The last option of activating it is to dial *140*353# to get additional Irish number or *140*48# for the Polish one. After activating the service you don’t need to do anything else just call, text or surf the web as if you were in the UK and pay local rates while avoiding paying roaming charges.
With this service Lycamobile created a very neat and economical way of using your Lyca PAYG SIM card while travelling around Poland or Ireland. Hopefully, they will extend it to other countries in which they operate.
Vectone Mobile allows its customers to pay only local rates when they travel to France, Portugal or Sweden.
Today we would like to present yet another interesting roaming deal for PAYG SIM cards. This time it is Vectone’s “2 Country SIM” deal which enables customers to take advantage of local rates when they are in France, Portugal or Sweden. The basic premise of this service is to have two numbers on one SIM card – one British and one from a chosen country. Thanks to such a solution Vectone customers will be charged at local rates when they use their phone in a selected country. But it is more than just a way of avoiding roaming charges, because additionally whoever calls from a chosen country when you are in Britain will pay as if they were making a domestic call. This makes it also a nice solution for staying in touch with friends and family at low-cost.
When you activate “2 Country SIM” by calling Vectone’s customer service on 322 or 02071790134, you will be assigned a second number from the selected country. Apart from low rates, you will not have to keep 2 PAYG SIM cards and both numbers are connected to one Vectone account so you only have to top up one account to be able to use both numbers. The rules concerning this service includes the limit to have only one additional number simultaneously, no special offers may apply to the second number and the conversion rate from pounds to euro (or vice versa) is set by the operator.
As the deal is free of charge, it becomes a very competitive service both for international calls and roaming for PAYG SIM cards. We will update our readers as soon as the deal is extended to other countries or removed, however, for the time being it is a smart solution for travellers going to France, Portugal or Sweden.
Three UK announced adding five new countries to their Feel At Home deal which enables using UK allowances when abroad (free roaming).
Feel At Home is Three UK’s offer for travellers that want to save money on mobile costs when staying abroad. Essentially, the deal, launched in August last year, allows Three’s customers to use their allowances when they are in eligible countries. The allowance can be used to use data or call and text British numbers. Feel At Home is free of charge and it switches on when you enter one of the selected destinations. The offer is available to all types of customers but if you have a Three PAYG SIM card than you have to remember to convert your credit to some Add-ons in order to take advantage of Feel At Home. All this means that Three UK has almost effectively turned off roaming charges in 16 countries.
Initially, Three UK kicked off Feel At Home with seven destinations: Australia, Denmark, Austria, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy and Sweden. In December 2013, there were four other countries added: Indonesia, Macau, Sri Lanka and the USA. Now on July, 1 2014 we will see five other places included in the deal: Finland, France, Israel, Switzerland and Norway. This brings it to total of 16 destinations where your normal allowance will be used.
There are however few restrictions concerning Feel At Home. First of all, tethering is forbidden and if you have All-you-can-eat tariffs than you may not use more than 25GB, send 5,000 texts or call longer than 3,000 minutes. I doubt that such restriction should make anybody feel uncomfortable. Additionally, Three UK proposes this deal only to people who are on holiday or on business trip abroad, so if you plan to stay in one of the countries for longer you might be cut off from using your allowance abroad. Secondly, pay as you go SIM card owners have to remember to get some add-ons and remember to replenish them when they are out of allowance. However, you can always buy add-ons through My3 app. Thirdly, you cannot call numbers that start with 070, 09 or 118.
All in all, we see a positive move of operators such as Three UK that reduce roaming costs not only in Europe (to comply with EU laws) but also all around the world in popular destinations. Moreover, it is also nice that such deals are introduced also for PAYG SIM cards.
EE has introduced 4G service for their customers who travel to France and Spain, and promises to extend the service to other countries in the holiday season.
The 4G operator EE is now offering 4G speeds for people travelling to France and Spain by tapping into Orange network in those countries. For the time being, the service is available only to retail and SME customers. These are just the first two countries where customers can enjoy 4G speeds. EE plans to expand its 4G mobile coverage to such countries as Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and even the USA this summer.
Customers that want to use mobile internet abroad will have to choose one out of three add-ons: 20MB, 100MB and 200MB. The first bundle seems to be too small to do anything besides checking email, the 100MB add-on costs £3 and last 24 hours while the 200MB one is for £35 and is valid for 30 days.
Olaf Swantee , the EE boss, said: ‘EE already has the biggest and fastest 4G network in the UK – now we’re also allowing our customers to stay connected on 4G when they’re abroad. Our customers will be the first to benefit in France and Spain today, with the most popular travel destinations to follow in the coming months.’
Wall Street Journal has published an article on Europe’s walk away from roaming and the impact it has on mobile operators.
Neelie Kroes and her supporters are lobbying for abolishing roaming inside EU. The package of legislation advocated by the Commissioner was supposed to be voted through by ITRE Commission on February 24; however, it was postponed to a later date. Nevertheless, EU officials set their mind to make roaming free and don’t seem to stop pursuing this goal.
This has already caused some reactions from mobile operators across Europe. Some smaller providers have already outpaced EU regulations as they completely eliminated roaming fees or reduced them significantly. This led to major operators taking steps to retain their customers. Orange has recently launched a promotion that would waive the roaming fees for customers with a monthly plan of €30 or more in France. Similarly, E-Plus in Germany allows customers a plan with no additional roaming fee for a flat rate of €3 a month, while Swedish Tele2 offers their customers a €55 plan for unlimited calls and texts plus 1 GB of data accessible in all EU countries.
Major operators know that roaming is a lucrative source of income and now want to limit the damage a new legislation can cause. However, EU’s survey showed that no roaming means additional 300 million customers for mobile providers. In due time, all operators will have to react to the upcoming change and not only for better tariffs for contract customers, but also ensure that people who use PAYG sim cards will freely use them abroad.
Orange wants to become the first mobile operator to get rid of roaming charges in their key European markets.
Orange wants to meet the expectations of their premium customers and decided to bring down their roaming charges across Europe. The operator has chosen their key market, i.e. France, Spain, Belgium, Romania, Slovakia and Luxembourg, in which pay monthly customers with tariffs starting from €30 will be able to roam for free in Europe. The rest of Orange Pay Monthly customers will have to settle for better value-for-money in updated Go Europe roaming tariffs. On top of that, Orange is planning to launch 4G roaming in such countries like the UK, Portugal, Spain and South Korea for French customers. However, by the end of 2014 such a service should be available across Europe too.
Orange CEO, Stephane Richard said that their plan is to remove the need for many of their frequent roamers to even think about taking out a separate bundle. He added that this planned launch of free roaming in Europe comes from the popularity of Go Europe tariffs and meeting the customers’ expectations.
This announcement is yet another step to completely abolish roaming in Europe. Hopefully, Orange will continue this trend and sooner or later provide free roaming to pay as you go SIM cards too.