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Three scraps mobile roaming fees for Brits on holiday in Spain and New Zealand

Tuesday, April 14th 2015 by Dean Reilly

Customers on the Three network can now use their mobile call, text and data allowances for no extra cost in Spain and New Zealand.

The announcement means that customers of the mobile network can make calls, send messages and browse the internet in 18 countries around the world for the same price as at home.

Three’s Feel at Home service, which was launched in 2013, automatically activates when customers travel to a destination where the feature is available.

The network claimed that the addition of Spain and New Zealand to the line-up of countries will mean that over 65% of customers roaming data usage will be in a country covered by the Feel at Home service.

The 16 other countries where the Feel at Home service can be used are: Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Macau, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States of America.

Data hungry

According to the Office for National Statistics, UK residents made 3.9 million visits abroad in January 2015 and spent £2.3 billion during these trips.

Annually, around 12 million Britons travel to Spain, while New Zealand sees roughly 200,000 Brits visiting the country.

Cable.co.uk previously reported that more than half of UK smartphone users don’t use their mobile or tablet outside of the UK because of concerns over huge roaming charges.

Approximately a third (34%) of the 1,000 people questioned in the Worldsim survey said they only use their phone to send text messages while abroad, with 26% likely to search for the nearest wi-fi hotspot to avoid roaming data charges.

The survey also found that over a quarter (26%) of those polled said they frequently paid more than they need to because of being unsure of how data plans work abroad.

15% of respondents said the main reason they found themselves stung by extra charges was because they did not understand technical terms like ‘data roaming’.

Three’s chief technical officer Bryn Jones told Cable.co.uk in November that customers on the network were data hungry and more likely to use mobile data than those on competitors’ networks.

He said Three carries 45% of all the mobile internet traffic in the UK, adding: “When you compare that to the size of our base, which is about 8 million customers, and compare that to EE, O2 and Vodafone our customers use significantly more data than our competitors’ customers.”

Mr Jones added that Three’s 3G network was designed for the internet.

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