Using mobile phones abroad Cost of using your mobile phone abroad
It's not always easy to compare how much you'll pay when you use your mobile abroad to make calls.
Mobile operators give mobile roaming costs for all countries on their websites, although this can sometimes be quite tricky to find. We've linked directly to the mobile roaming section of each mobile service provider below:
Add-ons for using your mobile abroad
There are lots of add-ons available and most of them offer value for money - but you're not guaranteed to save as you could end up paying for more than you'd need.
Think about how you'll be using your phone while you're away; Vodafone's EuroTraveller lets pay monthly customers take their UK price plan to the EU - and use any inclusive minutes or texts from your standard tariff - but it costs £3 per day. As calls are capped at 28p/minute (including VAT), you'd need to talk on your phone for over 10 minutes per day for this to be worthwhile.
O2 Travel gives you 25MB of data for £1.99 per day - but our tests show that's enough to send around 750 standard 15-line emails. It also lets you use your domestic tariff abroad for a 50p connection fee, but as you won't pay any more than 28p/minute under the new caps, you wouldn't benefit if you make lots of short calls.
Many other mobile service providers offer mobile roaming bundles or add-ons. These mean cheaper call rates than using your standard tariff, but they often require you to pay an extra fee to benefit from the lower costs of using your mobile abroad. So you'll need to be sure you'll use your mobile abroad enough to justify the initial cost.
Read our advice guide on the best mobile phone networks to see how each performed in our customer satisfaction survey.
Using the internet on your mobile abroad
Using your mobile to access the internet abroad (data roaming) costs a lot more than it does within the UK. Just downloading a 10 minute-video clip on your phone abroad could cost as much as £200, depending on your mobile phone network and location.
Mobile phone networks charge for internet access by megabyte (MB) of data downloaded. How much you'll be charged depends on your network, tariff and location.
As a rough guide you'll now be charged around a maximum 56p (+VAT) per MB in Europe and around £6-8 per MB further afield.
Tips for cheaper internet access abroad
Contact your mobile operator before you travel to find out how much it charges for data roaming in the country you're visiting.
Find out if your provider offers any cheap data bundles for internet use abroad. If you plan to use the internet a lot this could work out cheaper.
Ask your mobile operator if it can put a limit on your usage or how much you spend in total so you don't exceed a certain level.