When you use your phone in a foreign country you leave your home network (such as BT Mobile in the UK) and use another network – which is called roaming. Roaming is when you use your phone to use data to do things like use Google Maps, check Facebook, watch YouTube and check email
The EU has abolished roaming charges, so using your phone in the European Union is much cheaper than it used to be. if you visit places like Asia, America or Australasia, however, calls and texts won’t be included as part of your monthly tariff, and if you don’t keep an eye on how much data you’re using, you could have an unexpectedly high bill when you get home.
With BT Mobile there are ways to keep the cost down with a little preparation before you jet off, and by following a few simple tips while you’re away.
What to do before you go
Visiting an EU country?
With BT Mobile’s Roam Like Home, you can use your mobile in 47 destinations, without worrying about extra charges.
When you are in a Roam Like Home country, data use, calls and texts you make to other Roam Like Home countries and back to the UK are included within your monthly allowance.
Roam Like Home applies to the following countries:
Roaming Zone 1a: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (Incl. Azores & Madeira), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Vatican City
Roaming Zone 1b: Canary Islands, French Guiana, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Iceland, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Martinique, Mayotte, Norway, Reunion, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, San Marino, Switzerland
What happens if I go over my allowance?
Use up your inclusive minutes, data or texts and you’ll be charged at the same rates as you would be in the UK:
|Zone 1a||Zone 2b|
|Calls (per minute)||35p||29.1p|
|Texts (per message)||12p||10p|
|Data usage (per MB)||10p||8.3p|
Visiting a non-EU country?
Calls to and from America, Asia and Australia are more expensive than if made within the EU. BT Mobile has a useful tool to work out how much it will cost to use your phone abroad.
Head to BT Mobile, click Data Roaming in the top menu and Mobile calling costs
Scroll down to ‘International and roaming charges,’ then use the drop-down menu to select the country to view all calls, texts and data charges.
Set a spend cap
BT Mobile automatically caps spending at £35 on monthly data charges when you are abroad, so even if you do use more than you intend, you know the maximum amount you will be charged.
Increase or decrease the cap by logging into bt.com/mymobile
- Scroll down and click the arrow next to ‘Tools to manage your spend’
- Under ‘When you’re abroad’ use the sliders to Allow or Block calls to international numbers and general phone use.
- Use the drop-down menu next to Data roaming to set your cap from a range of values between £0 to £40.
Money-saving tips for using your phone abroad
Step 1: Turn data roaming off
The simplest way to avoid an unexpected bill is to turn data roaming off.
Apple: Turn off data in the Settings menu, find out how.
Android: Go to Settings – Data and turn the Mobile data switch Off. Android phone interfaces can vary between manufacturers so instructions may differ slightly.
Visit bt.com/phoneguides to find out how to turn off data roaming on your phone.
Step 2: Download before you go
Think about what you might use your phone for on holiday and download things like music, podcasts and iPlayer programmes using your home wi-fi.
If you’ve installed apps for your children, give them a test run before you leave - many need you to download elements before they can be played.
Step 3: Use free wi-fi
BT Mobile customers can get online for free at 13 million BT Fon hotspots around the world
To find a hotspot visit maps.fon.com
Enter ‘BT/’ before your BT ID username and email eg: BTfirstname.lastname@example.org
Read more in our article: What to do if you lose your phone abroad.
*Prices correct at time of writing, please check before you go abroad.