Using your Mobile abroad

Overseas Charges

The concept is simply. You power your phone on when arriving in another country and your SIM card broadcast to the local mobile operators the details of which UK operator you are contracted to.

If the local mobile operator and your UK operator have a partnering agreement, your phone is temporarily registered by the local operator.

When you leave, a bill is sent to your UK operator.

None of this is cheap.

Importantly, when Overseas your UK Mobile voice minutes or Internet Access allowances may not apply.

Add on packages are however available and will be cheaper than the standard charges detailed below.

Always check with your operator before travelling.

When Overseas  you will pay to Receive calls!

Travelling to the European Union .

The EU has a set of call charges on mobile phones registered in the UK.

Call charges are typically 0.30/35p a minute to make a voice call and 0.10/12p a minute to receive calls.

For Internet Access charges currently depend on the UK and local operator partnering agreement. They come in different forms.

Examples :  £3 per MB or £1 per MB up to 5MB and £5 per MB after that.

In real money this means:

Typical cost
10 minutes call to UK £3.00
Receive a 10 minute call from UK £1.00
Watch You Tube for 1 hour £300-£480


Currently EU laws require operators to cap Internet Access at £40 per monthly unless you say otherwise.

Most will send you a text when you approach that limit.

From July 2012, prices will drop for calls made from phones across Europe to £0.28 (€0.32) per minute; £0.25 (€0.28) from July 2013; and £0.21 (€0.24) from July 2014

For Internet Browsing the EU will force operators to cap the amount they charge for overseas data roaming at 80p (€0.90) per MB from July 2012.

Travelling outside the EU

There is no regulation.

I selected some current charges:

Typical cost
10 minutes call to UK £20.00
Receive a 10 minute call from UK £10.00
Watch You Tube for 1 hour £600


Now, each UK operator has its own policy and check before you travel to ensure limits are set or and the costs involved.

Also check that your phone will work, as other mobile networks use different technology.

Long duration overseas stay

What if you are located aboard for a long time?

  • Option one is buy a local SIM card in country and pay the local charges.
  • Option two is a Global SIM card. Various companies offer these. The rates are negotiated in advance with in-country operators and you end up with lower bills.  Still it is worth understanding the charges prior to travelling.
  • Option three : For data get an International Wifi access package example: £28 for 500 minutes Internet access.
  • Option four : Work Skype type services through your Wifi access.




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