Cookies on the SIM Sherpa website

We use cookies to track which pages on our website readers visit most. This helps us understand which topics people find interesting, to write more articles about them.

You can accept these tracking cookies or choose to block them. You can change these settings at any time.

X close

✖ Tracking cookies deleted and blocked

Ok, we will not track your page views as you move around any part of the SIM Sherpa website. But we will use that one cookie to remember you don't want to be tracked.

Click here to unblock tracking cookies

X close

✔ Cookies accepted

Thank you for accepting cookies for the SIM Sherpa website. This will help us constantly improve our content.

If you ever want to change your cookie settings for our website, go to our Cookies page here.

Best UK mobile networks for roaming in the EU and worldwide 2021

Comparing international roaming

The retailers featured on this page may compensate us when our readers follow links to their websites and make a purchase. More

We look at which networks still offer EU roaming after Brexit and which offer inclusive roaming further afield too. Here are the best and worst. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: 25th August 2021.

Our 2021/22 roaming guide

Networks have started changing their inclusive roaming in the EU after Brexit

EU map and a globe with an aeroplane

EU roaming isn’t included with every network

For a long time, if you mainly wanted to travel abroad with your phone in the EU, your choice was pretty simple. You could basically join any network. But that’s now started to change post-Brexit.

A few networks have started to charge for usage while you’re there. And we suspect others will start to follow suit too. Others have been adding stricter fair usage policies too.

And then there’s travel outside of the EU to popular places like the USA, Australia and beyond. Some providers include roaming to these, most others charge extra at eye-watering rates.

In this guide, we pick through the mess of different policies on each network to find suitable providers for where you want to go. We’ve ranked them from most generous, to the meanest.

Useful link: How each network's roaming compares

Each mobile network's roaming compared

Got a particular network in mind?

Click on a logo to read what we think of their roaming

Three logo
BT Mobile logo
EE logo
giffgaff logo
ID logo
O2 logo
SMARTY logo
Virgin Mobile logo
Vodafone logo
VOXI logo

1st: Three's Go Roam is still our favourite and hasn’t changed

Flags on Three's Go Roam

New countries sometimes addedSee the latest list

at Three.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Most destinations as standard
Green plus sign Included on all plans, even the cheapest
Green plus sign No EU changes post-Brexit

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Some data usage limits
Red minus sign Tethering blocked abroad
Red minus sign 4G data not always available

With other networks changing their EU roaming policies, it’s nice to see Three so far keeping with including EU roaming with all their pay monthly and pay as you go plans (use allowances without paying extra).

And they go much further too - with a list of 71 worldwide destinations including the USA, where you can use your phone without paying extra, which would normally be incredibly expensive on most other networks.

There are a few conditions. There’s a fair usage policy on the amount of data you can use while abroad (and calls/texts). You can’t use tethering. And it’s only for temporary trips not living abroad.

But overall, it’s a really generous scheme. It includes the most destinations on the most plans and its restrictions won’t affect most users in real life. For non-inclusive destinations, you’ll pay as you go at these rates on Three.

Useful link: Three's full guide to Go Roam

Our ranking:
Best

EU roaming included?
Yes – all plans

Worldwide roaming included?
Yes – 71 countries on all plans

Joint 2nd: Sky Mobile still include EU roaming on all plans

Sky roaming passports banner

Sky have branded their roaming as PassportsSee what you get

at Sky.com
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign No changes to EU roaming
Green plus sign No limits on your usage while away
Green plus sign Ways to make roaming cheaper elsewhere

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Nowhere else in the world included
Red minus sign Charges elsewhere are expensive

With other competitors removing EU roaming, Sky Mobile have moved up into our second place by not changing their EU roaming policy. You can use all your minutes, texts and data allowance while there on every plan.

We like that there’s no usage caps. And when we’ve taken our Sky test SIM abroad with us, everything has just worked straight out of the box and you get stuff you’d expect like 4G data wherever it’s available locally.

The only real weak point on roaming with Sky Mobile comes if you’re going anywhere else in the world. You’re essentially looking at buying daily passes (Roaming Passports) to access your UK plan allowances.

In the countries those don’t cover, you’ll pay as you go at these rates, which vary per destination. In a nutshell, we’d say Sky are the best for EU roaming but aren’t a great choice for long-haul jet setters.

Useful link: Read Sky Mobile's page on roaming

Our ranking:
Joint 2nd

EU roaming included?
Yes - all plans

Worldwide roaming included?
No – daily charges in 12 countries

Fair usage policies?
None in EU

Joint 2nd: Tesco Mobile have kept EU roaming too without limits

Home From Home roaming on Tesco

Use your home plan in 48 destinationsSee latest countries

at tescomobile.com
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Still offering free EU roaming
Green plus sign No caps on data usage in inclusive area

What we don't like:
Red minus sign No inclusive roaming outside EU
Red minus sign Expensive rates outside the EU

Another network who’ve moved up our rankings by default are Tesco Mobile. They’ve not changed their EU roaming policy, meaning you’ll be able to use your plan’s allowances there without paying extra.

We’re particularly impressed that there’s no limits or caps on fair usage while you’re abroad in the EU. You can’t just live permanently abroad but for trips to the continent you can everything your plan normally comes with.

Tesco aren’t really a suitable choice if you’re a regular long-haul traveller though. Their pay as you go rates outside of the EU really do get very expensive, very fast to the point you’re probably not going to want to use it.

But for straightforward roaming whenever you’re on holiday in the EU, we do rate Tesco Mobile as one of the best roaming networks – thanks to the lack of any sneaky catches.

Useful link: All costs for international roaming

Our ranking:
Joint 2nd

EU roaming included?
Yes - all plans

Worldwide roaming included?
No – pay as you go at these rates

Fair usage policies?
None in EU

3rd: O2 still include EU roaming and have some worldwide too

O2 roaming banner

Only premium plans have roaming elsewhereSee qualifying plans

at O2.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign EU roaming still included
Green plus sign Large list of optional worldwide destinations

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Some fair usage caps
Red minus sign Worldwide only on premium plans
Red minus sign Small daily allowances outside EU

So far, we’ve not heard that O2 have any intention of removing inclusive EU roaming on their mobile plans. It means you can use your regular minutes, texts and data there, without paying extra (full details here).

But you can also get some extended roaming in a further 27 destinations like the USA and more, by choosing a more-premium plan that’s marked as coming with Travel Inclusive Zone.

It’s pretty good even if it’s not as generous as Three’s Go Roam. Instead of using your normal allowances, you’ll get a batch of 120 minutes, 120 texts and some full speed data (we think about 150MB) to per day.

The data still works after that but it’s severely speed capped. So the system is good enough to keep your phone useful on trips for things like checking maps, emails and phoning places. But you won’t be streaming by the pool.

Useful link: Read O2's full roaming guide

Our ranking
3rd

EU roaming included?
Yes - all plans

Worldwide roaming included?
Yes – on some pay monthly plans

4th: BT Mobile now have better roaming than hosts EE

Roam like Home in the EU banner

There's a huge 47 countries you can visitSee full country list

at BT.com
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Inclusive EU roaming on every plan
Green plus sign Most customers' usage not capped

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Use a maximum 50GB abroad in the EU
Red minus sign Very few non-EU roaming add-ons

Because EE have now scrapped EU roaming on their plans, we’re now in the situation where their parent company BT offer better roaming in general than the mobile network they run on (for the time being at least).

Every BT Mobile plan still lets you use your plan’s UK allowances while abroad in the EU - from the cheapest to the most expensive. If your plan comes with 50GB data or more, you’ll be able to use up to 50GB a month there before charges apply.

That’s a hefty chunk for a temporary holiday. Most people wouldn’t even get near that while at home, never mind on a one or two week break. But it’s still worth knowing if you’re an ultra-heavy user.

Otherwise, if you want to go anywhere else on BT Mobile, there’s no extra inclusive roaming but you can buy daily add-ons for data in the USA and 11 other countries. Otherwise, you’ll pay per minute, text and MB on your bill.

Useful link: Read BT's full roaming guide

Our ranking
4th

EU roaming included?
Yes - all plans

Worldwide roaming included?
No – daily add-ons in some countries

Fair usage policies?
50GB in EU

Joint 5th: VOXI have kept free EU roaming despite Vodafone change

VOXI roaming banner

Even use Endless social data there tooLearn more

at VOXI.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Inclusive EU roaming still works

What we don't like:
Red minus sign No inclusive worldwide roaming
Red minus sign “Endless” benefits don’t work abroad
Red minus sign Roaming elsewhere is expensive

VOXI are owned and operated by Vodafone as a sub-brand. Despite Vodafone removing EU roaming on their own pay monthly plans, interestingly you can still join VOXI and get the benefit included.

There are a couple of conditions. You can use a maximum of 20GB data from your plan’s allowance while there without paying extra. And their Endless Social and Endless Video benefits do not work outside of the UK.

Outside the EU, it’s a case of topping up with credit, and paying for your usage as you go, per minute, text and MB data. The latest rates are listed here under VOXI’s help pages.

So overall, we’d recommend VOXI as a choice if you know you’re only really going to travel to Europe (especially if you’re a Vodafone customer and have been annoyed by their changes but want to stay on the network).

Useful link: All benefits to joining VOXI

Our ranking
Joint 5th

EU roaming included?
Yes - all plans

Worldwide roaming included?
No – pay as you go

Fair usage policies?
20GB in EU

Joint 5th: giffgaff have EU roaming and few restrictions too

Roaming with giffgaff

Roaming outside the EU gets expensiveSee costs per country

at giffgaff.com
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Big list of inclusive roaming countries
Green plus sign No usage caps for most customers
Green plus sign Cheap simple plans to start with

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Maximum 20GB usage abroad a month
Red minus sign Expensive worldwide roaming charges

giffgaff occupy the same position as VOXI in our rankings, because their roaming is essentially the same: you’ll get inclusive EU roaming on every goodybag (or the same pay as you go rates as at home).

But there is the same 20GB monthly usage cap while you’re away in the EU. So if you’re on a larger plan or plan to use loads on your trip, you can end up paying extra on giffgaff.

If you’re travelling outside the EU, giffgaff does become basically unusably expensive. You’ll pay per minute, text and MB data at these rates. You probably want to keep your phone off or get a local SIM card.

So giffgaff are definitely a good choice for EU holidayers, over some of the bigger networks that have removed it. But regular long-haul travellers will probably want to look elsewhere.

Useful link: Get £5 free credit when you join giffgaff

Our ranking:
Joint 5th

EU roaming included?
Yes - all plans

Worldwide roaming included?
No – pay as you go

Fair usage policies?
20GB in EU

Joint 6th: Talkmobile's EU roaming better than Vodafone parent

Talkmobile free EU roaming banner

Use your UK allowances in the EUFull details

at talkmobile.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Use all your UK allowances in the EU
Green plus sign Cheap and simple plans in general

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Roaming de-activated by default
Red minus sign 15GB fair usage policy in EU
Red minus sign No other worldwide roaming included

Even though roaming on Talkmobile is pretty unremarkable, it now beats what you get on their more-expensive parent network Vodafone as standard. You’ll still get free EU roaming on every Talkmobile plan (not on Vodafone).

It means you won’t pay extra on breaks to the continent, unless you over their fair usage policy of 15GB a month. Most Talkmobile plans are smaller than that anyway, so it won’t affect most customers.

One thing to watch though: roaming is de-actived by default on Talkmobile. You have to contact their customer services to get it turned on. This caught us out when we were testing their SIM.

And as a low-cost network, it's no surprise that Talkmobile don't offer any inclusive worldwide roaming. Instead they operate a pay as you go system where you'll pay for usage at the rates on this page.

Useful link: Talkmobile's guide to roaming on their network

Our ranking
Joint 6th

EU roaming included?
Yes - all plans

Worldwide roaming included?
No – pay as you go

Fair usage policies?
15GB in EU

Joint 6th: Plusnet Mobile – EU roaming you don’t get on EE

Plusnet Mobile free EU roaming banner

Every SIM now has Roam Like At HomeSee all plans

at plus.net
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign EU roaming still included
Green plus sign Most people have no data usage cap
Green plus sign Cheap and simple plans in general

What we don't like:
Red minus sign 15GB data cap within the EU
Red minus sign No other worldwide roaming included

Most people on Plusnet Mobile will be able to use their entire plan’s minutes, texts and data in these EU countries, at no extra cost - something you no longer get on their host network EE.

Where there are some limits is if you’ve bought a really big data plan from Plusnet. According to their data usage policy here, you can’t use more than 15GB data while you’re abroad.

That’s a fairly big chunk to use while away. In fact it’s way more than the average UK customer will use while they’re at home! Also, you’ll struggle to find a Plusnet plan with as much as 15GB in the first place.

If you’re going elsewhere, usage will be added to your bill as you use your phone (by min, text and MB data). But you won’t be able to spend more than your monthly spending cap.

Useful link: All roaming costs on Plusnet Mobile from their help section

Our ranking:
Joint 6th

EU roaming included?
Yes - all plans

Worldwide roaming included?
No – pay as you go

Fair usage policies?
15GB in EU

7th: SMARTY - simple inclusive usage in EU countries

SMARTY EU roaming banner

Use your whole SMARTY plan at no extra costRead full guide

at SMARTY.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign EU roaming on all plans
Green plus sign Cheap and simple in first place

What we don't like:
Red minus sign New fair usage policy
Red minus sign No other inclusive destinations
Red minus sign Expensive non-EU roaming

The good news is SMARTY haven’t removed free EU roaming. So you’ll still be able to use your SIM card in the EU/EEA generally without being charged extra. But they have put in a fair usage policy while you’re there:

If your plan comes with more than 12GB data or unlimited data, you’ll only be able to use up to 12GB per month in the EU. After that you’ll need to buy a data add-on to keep using it there. Calls and texts aren’t affected.

Unlike their parent company Three, there’s no inclusive worldwide roaming on SMARTY though. To use it there, you’ll need first to top up with credit and then pay for your usage individually at the rates listed here.

One quick word of caution though: you need to set up your SIM card manually to be able to use it abroad (follow SMARTY’s instructions here). If you don’t do that before you leave, you could get stuck with it not working.

Useful link: All benefits to SMARTY's roaming

Our ranking:
7th

Inclusive countries as standard:
Yes - all plans

Worldwide roaming included?
No – pay as you go

Fair usage policies?
12GB in EU

Joint 8th: Virgin Mobile have a complicated fair usage policy

Screenshot of Virgin Mobile's roaming fair usage calculator

You can't use all your data abroadUse calculator now

at virginmedia.com
(opens in a new window)

What we don't like:
Red minus sign You can't use your full allowances
Red minus sign Expensive worldwide roaming

What we like:
Green plus sign 43 European destinations included
Green plus sign Phones and SIMs generally cheap in first place

We give Virgin Mobile a really good score in our review but one of the things that lets them down is their roaming, even though they do include EU roaming like all other providers.

Unlike many others, Virgin operate a complicated formula (use their calculator here) that caps how much of your monthly data you can use abroad before extra charges kick in. Often it's only half your UK allowance.

That won't be a problem for many taking the odd trip and using their phones moderately, and it helps keep the overall cost of the deal down. But heavy users and frequent travellers will have to keep an eye on their usage.

What also lets Virgin Mobile down is when you travel outside of the EU, the roaming charges get very expensive, very fast. In the USA for instance, 1GB could cost £5000! Luckily there is a £52 spend cap.

Useful link: See Virgin's roaming information hub at virginmedia.com

Our ranking:
Joint 8th

EU roaming included?
Yes - all plans

Worldwide roaming included?
None – pay as you go

Fair usage policies?
Complicated calculation

Joint 8th: iD Mobile’s roaming is unnecessarily complicated

iD Mobile free EU roaming banner

Cheaper plans limit roaming dataRead all the rules

at idmobile.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign The usual inclusive EU destinations
Green plus sign 5 extra non-EU destinations
Green plus sign Cheap basic plan costs in the first place

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Caps on data usage on cheapest deals
Red minus sign Little inclusive worldwide roaming

For a cheap monthly plan, we rate iD Mobile as a good choice. And you'll get the standard free EU roaming destinations included for your money too. But the low-cost network does have some restrictions:

iD have an Open Data Policy in place, which restricts how much of your normal monthly data allowance you can you in those countries. It only kicks in on their cheapest plans (typically ones under £10 a month).

As a low-cost network they've done this to keep their overall prices low but if you're taking a plan under £10, we'd recommend using their calculator here to make sure you don't get charged extra abroad.

iD do offer some non-EU inclusive roaming in places like Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kazakhstan (hardly holiday hotspots). Elsewhere you'll pay per minute, text and MB data. See costs per country here.

Useful link: iD's full guide to roaming with them at idmobile.co.uk

Our ranking:
Joint 8th

EU roaming included?
Yes - all plans

Worldwide roaming included?
Some in unpopular destinations

Fair usage policies?
Complicated calculation

9th: Vodafone have withdrawn their free EU roaming

Vodafone's Global Roaming banner

Daily charges in the EUSee new charges

at Vodafone.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Up to 81 destinations
Green plus sign 5G and 4G wherever they're available

What we don't like:
Red minus sign EU roaming removed on most plans
Red minus sign Worldwide roaming on premium plans only
Red minus sign Daily charges on non-qualifying plans

Vodafone have gone right down in our estimation recently. You used to get free EU roaming with every plan. They’ve now withdrawn that and restricted it solely to their most-expensive ones (and imposed daily charges on all others instead).

This actually puts them worse-off than joining their own sub-brands and virtual operators that use Vodafone’s network, like VOXI, Talkmobile, Virgin and ASDA - all of which still include EU roaming as standard.

If you are willing to invest in a more expensive plan, you can get more roaming destinations included. If your plan is marked as Global Roaming Plus, the number of countries you can visit without paying extra grows to the 83 listed here.

But also watch out for Vodafone’s Basics Plans too. These don’t let you roam at all. They literally don’t work while you’re abroad, except for emergency calls. They are a lot cheaper than all other Vodafone plans as a result though.

So roaming on Vodafone then is very much a premium experience. You’ll pay more to get it included with your plan but you’ll get loads of destinations included for the money and 5G and 4G will work wherever they’re available locally.

Useful link: Vodafone's full guide to roaming costs

Our ranking:
9th

Worldwide roaming included?
83 countries on premium plans only

Fair usage policies?
25GB data per month

10th: EE have ditched EU roaming on pay monthly plans

EE inclusive roaming

Only 5 places outside the EU on EERead their guide

at EE.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign 4G speeds wherever they're available
Green plus sign More destinations available as add-on

What we don't like:
Red minus sign New charges for EU roaming
Red minus sign Limited non-EU inclusive destinations

Unfortunately EE have joined the list of networks that now charge for EU roaming on pay monthly plans. Although, providers that use their network like BT Mobile and Plusnet Mobile have not yet followed suit.

Instead of using your regular minutes, texts and data, they’ll now charge you per day at these rates. This puts EE way down in our estimation now. Even though you can choose a roaming pass as a Smart benefit on qualifying plans:

That roaming pass lets you use your phone in the EU at no extra cost (like you always could on all plans) but also adds 5 more worldwide destinations, including the USA (read more here).

If you actually have roaming with your plan on EE, it’s a slick experience. You’ll get 4G wherever it’s available. There is a 50GB fair usage cap on data if your plan’s that size or bigger.

Useful link: All other roaming costs on EE

Our ranking:
10th

Worldwide roaming included?
5 extra countries as a Smart benefit

Fair usage policies?
50GB data per month

Compare SIM only plans with free roaming

Find a SIM only plan

Choose what you want from your deal

Networks

Providers:

Three logo
ASDA logo
BT Mobile logo
EE logo
giffgaff logo
Honest logo
ID logo
IQ logo
Lebara logo
O2 logo
Plusnet logo
Sky logo
SMARTY logo
Talkmobile logo
Tesco logo
Virgin Mobile logo
Vodafone logo
VOXI logo

Plan

Data: (0MB+)

Minutes: (0+)

Contract

Maximum length: (Any)

Added features

Networks ranked by other features

Full mobile network reviews