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Customers on Three save £2.6bn in mobile roaming charges

Thursday, January 14th 2016 by Ellen Branagh

Mobile operator Three says it has saved its customers £2.6bn in roaming charges since it launched its Feel at Home service in 2013.

Feel at Home allows customers to use their UK data allowances in 18 holiday destinations including Spain, France, Australia and the United States.

The service, which covers 65% of trips abroad by Three customers, saved the average customer £360 a year.

Three partnered with money saving expert Mrs Moneypenny to poll 2,000 people about hidden costs holidaymakers experience.

It found that 10% of travellers have been stung by data roaming charges.

The fear of being hit by excessive charges means one in five Britons switch their data roaming off while on holiday, but one in five wish they had the freedom to use their phones in the same way they do at home.

And those who can’t do without their mobiles (20%) regularly use free wi-fi to check their emails, social media and messages.

According to the research, people budget £1,666 for a week-long holiday in Europe, but will overspend on average by £100, with one in 10 going as much as £400 over their budget.

When it comes to hidden extra costs, one in six travellers (16%) have had to pay for expensive currency exchange and card payments abroad, 5% have been hit by travel and transfer costs, 5% by medical expenses and 5% by city and hotel taxes.

Danny Dixon, director of customer strategy at Three, commented: “It’s clear that roaming charges are something that holiday makers are still being caught out by.

“Whilst networks have recognised this and created cheaper bundles and add-ons for people travelling in Europe, Three remains the only network that offers roaming at no extra cost in 18 destinations across the globe, including the US and Australia.

“We want people to make the most of their holiday without worrying about bill shock on their return.”

'Nasty surprises'

Mrs Moneypenny’s tips on avoiding hidden holiday charges include choosing a phone network where you avoid paying unfair roaming charges.

She said: “It’s pretty astonishing to see how much money people are losing out on due to these hidden holiday costs, especially as there are some really simple ways that they can be avoided.

“Planning ahead is crucial which is why I’ve worked with Three to develop these handy tips on managing your holiday budget to keep costs down and avoid any nasty surprises that could turn your trip sour.”

Three’s Feel at Home is available in 18 destinations worldwide: Spain, France, Switzerland, Israel, Finland, Norway, USA, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Macau, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Austria, Hong Kong, Sweden, Denmark and the Republic of Ireland.

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