Martin Lewis warns travellers of mobile roaming mistake costing £6 a minute

Holidaymakers are being warned of a common mobile phone roaming mistake which is seeing them overpay on data.

Martin Lewis and his team at have published a damning report suggesting that people are paying for more than they are actually getting.

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The UK’s biggest consumer website is warning travellers not to get caught out.

Here is the roaming mistake you need to look out for and which networks currently do not charge for roaming.

What is the roaming mistake?

According to the report, some travellers are paying for a day’s worth of data but only getting a minutes worth.

This is due to the mobile networks having different ways of defining the term "day."

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EE, Three, Vodafone, Sky Mobile and Voxi are some of the largest firms to have reintroduced roaming charges for UK travellers in the EU.

It costs these customers £2 "daily" to use their UK data allowance in EU countries.

However, some aren’t getting a full day’s worth.

Most firms state that you get 24 hours of data from first use, but EE defines a day’s use in the EU as any time up to 11.59pm UK time.

This is irrespective of the local time zone.

This means if you landed at 11:58pm (GMT) in an EU country and turned your roaming on you’d only get a minute’s worth of data.

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You’d then be charged again minutes later to cover your allowance for the next "day"

For Vodafone customers, the same rule applies for travellers outside of the EU where it costs £6 a day to use your UK data allowance.

Martin Lewis said that this is not explained in the arrival text that customers receive when entering their destination.

Martin said: "We need to ban a daily roaming fee charged for use ‘up to 11.59pm’ without even mentioning in which time zone.

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"Instead, we recommend all providers must define a roaming ‘day’ as a 24-hour period from first use, clearly explain that in the arrival text, and alert customers at least an hour before the daily charges end."

Which mobile networks don’t have roaming charges?

A number of mobile networks haven’t introduced EU roaming charges.

If you’re a keen traveller it may be worth switching contracts.

You’ll only be able to switch once your current contract is up for renewal or else you will face large fees.

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Price comparison sites like MoneySupermarket and Uswitch will save you time by helping you browse the best deals on the market.

There are currently five mobile networks still allowing customers to use their UK data allowance while abroad in the EU free of charge.

BT Mobile and Plusnet

These two carriers allow all customers to continue enjoying inclusive roaming when they travel to the EU and beyond.

Under their "Roam Like Home" policies, both BT Mobile and Plusnet customers can use all of their data while abroad without facing any international fees.

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However, if you use all your data allowance, you’ll be charged.

BT Mobile customers will pay 11p per mb and Plusnet customers 10p per mb.

iD Mobile

All iD Mobile plans come with inclusive EU roaming.

This feature lets you roam like at home in 50 destinations throughout the EU, European Economic Area and beyond.

The minutes, texts and data you use simply come out of your remaining monthly allowances.

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If you use all your data allowance, you’ll be charged 10p per mb from then on.


If you’re travelling within the EU on O2, your allowances will work as they do in the UK.

However, data usage within the EU is subject to a roaming limit.

If your UK monthly data allowance is over 25GB, you’ll have a roaming limit of 25GB.

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This means you can use up to 25GB of your allowance at no extra cost.

You can still use data if you reach the roaming limit but you’ll be charged £3.50 per GB for your ongoing usage.

If your UK monthly data allowance is less than 25GB you won’t be subject to the 25GB roaming limit.

But if you use all your UK data abroad, you’ll need to buy a data "Bolt On" if you want to keep roaming - the price for this starts at £3.

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Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile offers a "Roam Like Home" policy which enables customers to use their UK allowance of minutes, texts and data in the EU just as you would in the UK.

If you use all your data allowance you’ll be subject to extra charges at £4.79 per GB.

You’ll usually be sent a text once you hit 80% of your usage to keep you aware of how close you are to running out.


Subject to the firm’s fair usage limit, you can use up to 12GB of data each month out of your monthly allowance when travelling in the EU.

If you need more data, you can buy a data add-on.

You can spend between £1 and £14 to get up to 15GB of extra data to use while you’re abroad.