MSE News: 'Revealed: The hidden cost of using your phone in Europe'

MSE_Chris
MSE_Chris Posts: 200 MSE Staff
First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper First Post

If you're heading to Europe this summer, check your mobile provider's roaming policy before you go – or you could get stung with unexpected charges. New MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) research reveals how some networks limit the amount of data you can use for free when travelling – even if you have roaming as part of your bundle – and not all providers make it clear that they do this. 

Read the full story:
Revealed: The hidden cost of using your phone in Europe – here's which providers offer truly free roaming and how to avoid getting stung

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Comments

  • garyttt
    garyttt Posts: 8 Forumite
    First Post
    Hi!
    I recently went to Ireland for the first time. And first time I'd used a sea ferry too...
    I was a bit tired so nodded off and didn't notice until I got to Dublin that I'd been texted to say I'd been connected to the ship's mobile system and could have been charged
    £2.00 per minute to receive a call, as well as the usual charges for making calls and sending texts.

    As a tightfisted money saver, I have my out of allowance costs set to zero pounds/euros, so presumably wouldn't have been stung, if half way the boss had rung me to ask how my cold was...
    I did a quick search on this topic before posting, and found a thread, complete with a rather snarky comment by a regular forumite saying to that OP "Most of us know that already"

    The thing is, many of us probably don't. If we're booking a ferry, then why would we stop to think about mobile networks, we're more interested in when, where, and how choppy the trip might be.

    We're not all tech genius or have hours to finetoothcomb conditions and such of both mobile contracts and the ferry/planes/hotels/submarine TCs. 
    So, risking another barrage of "we knew that already"
    I'm bumping this subject back up.

    When on a ship beyond shore based cell towers, you may be connected to the ships mobile system (which uses a satellite connection hence the cost) and may be charged even for receiving a call.

    I've previously travelled around France, and found that without firm instruction not to, ones mobile might switch to the Swiss network which is never covered by EU roaming allowances.
    The sneaky thing non tech savvy people need to know is that a mobile phone out of the box is set by default (thanks do no evil google et android) to allow background data for all the apps on it.

    This means that even without you doing anything, your phone can silently in the background send and recieve data updating, adjusting, twiddling with various apps. And in locations like Switzerland, that data cost can be a staggering £1 per MB. That's megabyte, not gigabyte. So a few apps can easily use 20MB in the background doing nothing useful for you, the phone owner and bill payer.
    Your counter attack is "data off" in settings or "airplane mode" or even "turning the phone totally off"
    People need to know this, and be reminded of it, as we all get excited - or stressed before a holiday, and might forget even what we know. Thank you, ci si vede, Tschüss, ike oe, and chì thu.
    Love and peace y'all
  • kt01
    kt01 Posts: 9 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post
    edited 21 July 2023 at 12:34AM
    garyttt said:
    The thing is, many of us probably don't. If we're booking a ferry, then why would we stop to think about mobile networks, we're more interested in when, where, and how choppy the trip might be.
    You're right, it's probably a money maker for ferries. Some ferry lines have signage in the port about roaming charges on the ship but obviously it's not what you're looking for when trying to get on a ferry with your luggage etc. Also my network texts me to inform me about outrageous charges but again it's too late at that point.

    One thing to do is set a bill cap. Mine's set as 0, there's litterally no need for me EVER to pay overage, so if I ever forget to switch off roaming or accidentally dial an international number there's no chance of being charged. As this is on the network side it can't be overridden by your phone settings either.


    Regarding the original article, it states roaming on Ecotalk is included, it's not, they charge £2 a day like the other profiteers...
  • liggerz87
    liggerz87 Posts: 391 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    kt01 said:
    garyttt said:
    The thing is, many of us probably don't. If we're booking a ferry, then why would we stop to think about mobile networks, we're more interested in when, where, and how choppy the trip might be.
    You're right, it's probably a money maker for ferries. Some ferry lines have signage in the port about roaming charges on the ship but obviously it's not what you're looking for when trying to get on a ferry with your luggage etc. Also my network texts me to inform me about outrageous charges but again it's too late at that point.

    One thing to do is set a bill cap. Mine's set as 0, there's litterally no need for me EVER to pay overage, so if I ever forget to switch off roaming or accidentally dial an international number there's no chance of being charged. As this is on the network side it can't be overridden by your phone settings either.


    Regarding the original article, it states roaming on Ecotalk is included, it's not, they charge £2 a day like the other profiteers...
    https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/experts/article-11074253/SALLY-SORTS-EE-let-daughter-rack-9-226-mobile-bill-abroad.html best to turn off roaming on phone as still could be charged 
  • kt01
    kt01 Posts: 9 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post
    liggerz87 said:
     best to turn off roaming on phone as still could be charged 
    The article states

    "It seems your daughter, aged 14, had agreed the purchase of data passes through a link on the EE website and confirmed these via verification text messages. In total she bought 164 packages costing £57.10 a pop."

    This clearly indicates user action was taken to buy data, buying specific packages would be outside of any agreed spending cap.
  • simax
    simax Posts: 1,957 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    My 8 day pass for using my allowance on Vodafone in Tenerife was only £10. You pay to roam in other countries outside the EU so what makes it any different? I know I could have avoided paying the £10 if I was on O2 or ID Mobile etc but quite frankly those networks in my area are terrible to I’d rather pay the tenner for the bundle and have a decent network 👍🏻
    I spent 25 years in the mobile industry, from 1994 to 2019. Worked for indies as well as the big networks, in their stores also in contact centres. I also hold a degree in telecoms engineering so I like to think I know what I’m talking about 😂
  • Beware of when travelling to the Channel Islands. The vast majority of providers don't include them in roaming and are classed as "international" 
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