It’s one of the banes of travellers’ holidays – mobile roaming charges that can leave them with a hefty phone bill at the end of their trip.
But now Three has promised to abolish international roaming charges in the countries it operates in. It means anyone travelling to the Republic of Ireland, Australia, Italy, Austria, Hong Kong, Sweden and Denmark won’t be hit by hefty additional charges.
And, while that clearly still leaves a lot of popular holiday destinations out, including France, Portugal, Spain and the US, it is thought Three’s announcement will now spark a war among mobile phone network providers to be the most cost-effective service to use aboard.
It means Three users will be able to make calls and send texts from selected locations and pay the same as they would in the UK.
Three’s new Feel at Home service will activate automatically as soon as a customer arrives in one of these countries and their phone picks up a local network.
It will make travelling a lot easier for many people as it means they can open up mapping services to find their way to their holiday destination or navigate to attractions, without having to worry about being charged extra.
Three describes Feel at Home as a “new, simple and affordable way to stay in touch with friends and family back home while traveling overseas.”
The company added: “With Feel at Home, you can call or text the UK and get online, using your current plan, in seven other countries, just like you would at home and it won’t cost a penny more. So, now you can chat to your family, text your friends, post gloaty status updates and share your holiday snaps whenever you like, with no more worrying about extra charges on your bill.”
It should certainly make it easier for Twitter and Instagram users to continue with the latest holiday photo craze. Dubbed ‘body surfing,’ travellers are posting images of their torso and legs, or even just their toes in front of the pool – anything but their faces.
Supermodel Heidi Klum is one of the latest celebrities to get in on the act – tweeting an image of herself sunbathing on the beach. Accompanied with the caption ‘Gorgeous day,’ Heidi shows off her flat stomach and leopard print bikini.
The new Three service covers users with monthly contracts, pay-as-you-go and SIM-only packages, so it’s fairly all-encompassing.
The news has already been welcomed by mobile users, with one commenting: “Good news for the mobile market, especially if others follow suit.”
But, be warned – customers who exceed their minutes or data allowance in their price plan while they are on holiday may have to pay reduced roaming rates, which will be higher than their normal call and text charges.
Also, people who make a call to a non-UK number will still be charged at the full roaming rate. So consumers will still have to be careful about their usage.