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Three Feel At Home review: all the best and worst bits in one guide

We explain Three's free roaming scheme Feel At Home and its benefits, look for any restrictions and judge how it compares with other networks. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: April 20th 2018.

Overall rating

Feel At Home

SIM Sherpa rates Feel At Home as the best inclusive roaming scheme in the UK
 (4/5, best choice)

"While other networks have only just caught up with free roaming in the EU, Three continue to streak ahead with more worldwide destinations on their Feel At Home programme.

To get our full five-star rating, Three would need to add top-speed 4G to Feel At Home too. But even without it, we still think it's the best inclusive roaming scheme in the UK today."

The 3 best bits

1) Largest number of free destinations
2) New countries added each year
3) Comes with almost every plan

The 3 worst bits

1) Slower data than in the UK
2) Personal hotspot restrictions
3) Data usage capped while abroad

Where to next?
 

Feel At Home explained

Use your UK minutes, texts and data in select countries abroad at no extra cost

Three Feel At Home banner

Go abroad but don't pay for expensive roamingRead Three's guide

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

In the old world, when you went abroad with your UK phone, any time you used it, you’d be charged extra per minute, text or MB data.

But in 2013, Three decided to do things differently:

They invented Feel At Home, which let you use your regular monthly allowance of minutes, texts and data while roaming in selected countries, without paying any extra. Free roaming was born!

Since then, the list of countries where you can take your phone for free on Three has grown to an impressive 71 destinations (see the latest list here).

Useful link: Skip to things we like about Feel At Home

There are now two tiers of Feel At Home: here's the difference between them

Table of Essential and Advanced plan differences

Pick the plan type with the right benefits for youRead the differences

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

If you didn’t know, Three actually have two types of Pay Monthly plan called Advanced and Essential (you can read all differences between them here).

Essential are no-frills deals that are cheaper than Advanced ones (Advanced come with the full range of Three’s benefits). It’s worth noting that most phones and SIMs are on Advanced already.

When it comes to Feel At Home, Essential plans only include what’s called “Feel At Home In Europe”. It’s what you think it is: free roaming within these 49 EU countries. But paid-for roaming anywhere else.

To get the full Feel At Home Around The World with the full 71 countries, you’ll need to take an Advanced plan. Or any data-only SIM, mobile broadband device or Pay As You Go SIM or phone.

Useful link: Three's Advanced vs Essential plans guide

Get Feel At Home with any of these Three products

Select the type of plan you're interested in

Where to next?
 

What we like about Three's Feel At Home

It’s a genuine freebie you get with nearly every plan

Three's savings calculator

Three used to have an online savings calculator

As you’ll see in the section further one where we compare Feel At Home with other networks’ roaming schemes, there’s no other network where inclusive roaming comes truly at no extra cost:

With other providers, you’re either paying a daily charge while you’re abroad to get a block of minutes, texts and data. Or the basic plan itself costs more to cover the cost of ‘free roaming’.

Feel At Home from Three is different. You get Feel At Home in Europe with absolutely every plan. And Feel At Home Around The World on every plan, apart from Three’s Essential ones (cheap no-frill pay monthly).

When you go abroad, it just works. There’s no faff in buying passes. Three even text you, to tell you how much you’ve saved on roaming costs.

Useful link: Three's other roaming costs

The destinations are worldwide and not just in Europe

List of Feel At Home countries

There are 71 total destinations you can visitSee latest full list

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

Regulations changed in 2017 so that mobile networks had to let you roam at no extra cost while in the EU. Since then, we’ve seen lots of providers make out they’re offering something special.

In truth, only one other mobile provider goes beyond the basic requirements with inclusive roaming outside Europe. EE offer roaming in Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, USA on their priciest Max plans.

Compare that to Three, who offer an additional 22 worldwide destinations outside the EU, on plans that won’t set you back as much and you can see why Feel At Home is so popular (and gets our best roaming rating).

It’s worth saying though, if you know you’re only ever going to travel in Europe, use our SIM only price comparison tool to check all the networks with free EU roaming, as you might find a cheaper deal.

Useful link: How Feel At Home compares with the competition

The list of free roaming countries is always growing

New Feel At Home country flags

New countries are added each yearSee new additions

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

Since Three first launched Feel At Home way back in 2013, the number of destinations where you can roam free of charge has grown from a handful back then to 71 today.

Every year, Three seems to add another 10 or so countries to the list of free roaming destinations.

So even if your favourite holiday spot isn’t currently covered it could soon be one of the Three Feel At Home’s future countries at some point (Three don’t publish future destinations in advance though).

If you’re going somewhere not covered by Feel At Home, have a look at Three’s Data Passport, which adds more countries for £5 a day extra.

Useful link: Three’s additional Data Passport scheme

You can join Three temporarily, just to get Feel At Home

SIM cards with Feel At Home

Pick a short-term SIM only deal for your tripSee short-term plans

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

If Feel At Home sounds good but you’re locked into a contract with another network, or you don’t want to leave your current provider, you can benefit from Three’s free roaming on a temporary basis too.

There are two basic choices:

Join on a 1-month SIM only plan. This is a pay monthly deal that will auto-renew each month until you cancel it (order and then cancel with 30 days’ notice once you no longer need it).

Take a Pay As You Go SIM with a monthly add-on. You pay a one-off upfront cost for a block minutes, texts and data (see all the options here). This last for 30 days and you don’t have to remember to cancel it.

Both are useful options if you know you’re going on a trip abroad and need a temporary SIM to tie you over.

Useful link: All offers currently running on Three

It comes on top of all Three’s other highly-rated benefits

Other Three benefits

Three have plenty of things going for themRead our Three review

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

In our full review of Three, we conclude that Three have the best all-round mix of reasonable prices, decent coverage and 4G speeds, plus added benefits (Feel At Home is one of those perks).

If you’ve not done it yet, check Three’s coverage near you here. Their 4G network now stretches to99%of the population, and 3G is at 98%, so there’s a high chance you’re covered.

Another market-leading benefit you get on any of Three’s Advanced plans with over 4GB data is Go Binge. This offers unlimited streaming data on Netflix, Apple Music and a load of other services.

Lastly, is Three’s new Wuntu app that serves up daily deals and offers to use on high-street and online for things like food and drink, or other consumer purchases.

Useful link: See all awards Three have won

Where to next?
 

What's not so good about Feel At Home

Three’s roaming data is only at 3G speeds on Feel At Home

No 4G on Feel At Home roaming

There's no 4G while you're roamingSee coverage abroad

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

This is arguably the biggest weakness when it comes to Feel At Home. Yes you’re getting the roaming data at no extra cost but it’s likely to be slower than using your phone at on Three’s UK network. Why?

Officially, Three say it’s to do with making the flow of data more manageable and therefore giving more people a consistent experience while they’re using roaming. This makes some sense.

We also suspect it keeps costs down for Three themselves. If the data is slower, it means you can’t rip through it at the same rate, so they’re not going to end up paying the roaming network as much.

It’s something you’ll have to decide is a problem or not. EE and Vodafone promise 4G speeds wherever they’re available abroad but their roaming schemes are considerably more expensive than Three’s.

Useful link: Check coverage by country (choose from list)

The amount of data you can use is limited when you’re roaming - even on All-You-Can-Eat plans

Three's app screenshot

Three's app keeps track of your usageSee Three app features

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

Three are the last network to offer what we’d call “proper” unlimited data on a full-time basis: other networks impose speed limits on uncapped data or only offer it as part of a short-term promotion.

While you can use as much data as you like while you’re in the UK with one of these plans on Three, if you go abroad, there’s a cap on how much you can use per month, without paying extra. Same if you have a plan over 12GB data.

At our last check, this cap was 12GB worldwide or 13GB in Europe. That’s a huge amount to use on a trip to be fair. Most people reading this won’t even use that much while they’re at home in a month.

But if you’re a complete data junkie, it’s worth noting you’ll have to curb your usage while abroad, even on Feel At Home.

Useful link: Keep track of usage with Three's app

There are restrictions on tethering with Feel At Home

Diagram explaining tethering

Three call tethering "personal hotspot"Read tethering rules

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

Tethering is when you use data from your mobile phone to create a mini-WiFi hostpot around you that you can connect other devices to, like tablets or laptops.

Three call it "Personal Hotspot". When you're in the UK, each Advanced pay monthly plan comes with an allowance of data you can use for creating a personal hotspot.

When you're in a Feel At Home country though, you're not allowed to tether at all according Three's pay monthly price guides, which you can read here (unless you have All-You-Can-Eat data).

If you want to use tethering (and get the very best speeds), Three have something called a Data Passport that gives you both for a fixed daily charge.

Useful link: About Three's data passport (scroll to halfway down page under link)

Where to next?
 

Other restrictions

You can’t use a Three SIM or phone abroad permanently

Feel At Home Restrictions

Restrictions are detailed in Three's price guidesSee price guides

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

We’ve not put this in the negatives section because we actually think it’s fair enough:

Three’s SIMs and phone contracts are designed to be used mainly in the UK. And Feel At Home is supposed to be for UK residents taking temporary trips abroad.

So there are some lines in Three’s terms and conditions that say you can't spend more than 2 months in every 12 abroad roaming.

You'll need to have "stable links to the UK" like living here or studying here to be able to use Feel At Home.

Useful link: See Three's Price Guides for more details

Where to next?
 

How Feel At Home compares with other networks

Feel At Home compared with Vodafone’s Global Roaming

Vodafone Global Roaming banner

4G where available but at a premiumSee Vodafone's scheme

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

Vodafone have been advertising their Global Roaming quite heavily recently. And they’ve been self-styling themselves “The Best Network for Roaming”. So how does it really compare to Three?

We’d say Vodafone’s Global Roaming has the advantage that you’ll get 4G data speeds, whenever they’re available locally (you only get 3G on Feel At Home).

There are also a lot more destinations on Vodafone’s Global Roaming (110 in total, see full list here), compared with 71 on Three’s Feel At Home Around The World.

So why don’t we rate it higher than Three’s scheme? Basically, it boils down to cost. Three’s scheme costs no extra. On Vodafone, there’s a daily charge while you’re abroad to use your allowance.

Useful link: Read our full Three vs Vodafone comparison guide

Feel At Home compared with EE’s Max Plans

EE roaming

Fastest 4G, more roaming & BT Sport appSee Max plan benefits

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

On top of regular EU roaming that you get with every provider, EE also have plans called “Max” that give you inclusive roaming in five extra worldwide destinations (listed here).

Roaming on EE has the advantage over Three that you’ll get 4G in countries where it’s available (EE have a guide to this here in their help section), so you don’t have to compromise on speed abroad.

But it’s still inferior to Feel At Home in a couple of ways: there’s not as many worldwide destinations (5 compared to 22). And Max plans are only available with a phone, there aren’t SIM only or Pay As You Go versions.

And then there’s the fact that Max plans cost more than standard ones. So you’re effectively paying extra for those roaming destinations in your basic plan cost. So it’s hard to describe as ‘free’.

Useful link: Read our full EE vs Three comparison

Feel At Home compared with O2’s Travel Passes

O2 inclusive roaming

Fixed daily charge in some countries outside EURead more

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

To be fair to O2, they don’t market their roaming deals like they’re anything special but it’s worth having a look at how it compares with Three anyway.

On O2, you can buy a daily pass that comes with a separate allowance of minutes, texts and data to use while you’re in particular countries (they’re not available everywhere). Usage doesn’t come out of your UK plan.

These come with a daily charge (see latest costs here) so certainly can’t be called free (O2 don’t say they are).

For inclusive roaming, O2 can’t really compete with Three. Read our full O2 vs Three guide to see how the two networks stack up against each other in general.

Useful link: Full O2 roaming information

Feel At Home compared with other mobile networks

All networks offer free EU roaming nowRead our guide

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

Nowadays, there are scores of smaller 'virtual' operators who use the big 4's networks and often offer cheaper prices.

All of these offer EU roaming as standard on their pay monthly deals (SMARTY will have added it by June 2018). But none of them go any further and offer worldwide destinations too.

Our full guide to the best roaming networks here rates all providers in order of how good we think their inclusive roaming is.

If you mainly stay within the EU when you travel, it's worth comparing SIM only prices here or phone contracts here to check there isn't a cheaper option than joining Three.

Useful link: The best mobile networks for roaming

Where to next?
 

FAQs

Do you get Feel At Home on an Essential plan from Three?

You get what’s called Feel At Home In Europe. This is like every other mobile provider where you can use your UK minutes, texts and data in these 49 European countries.

You don’t get Feel At Home Around The World. This is the full version of Feel At Home that extends your free roaming to an additional 22 non-EU countries across the globe.

Can you use Go Binge in Feel At Home countries for free?

Yes. This is an excellent part of both Three’s Go Binge scheme (unlimited streaming data for selected apps) and their Feel At Home scheme.

You’ll need to have some of your regular data allowance left while you’re abroad for it to work still (this is the same as when you’re in the UK anyway).

But remember, if you’re in a non-Feel At Home country, Go Binge streaming will not be free. You’ll be charged per MB

Can I use Feel At Home if I live abroad permanently?

No, it's designed for people taking temporary trips abroad but live in the UK.

Three do actually check that the SIM or phone is being used in the UK regularly and will disconnect people who only ever use their mobile abroad.

What’s the difference between Feel At Home in Europe and Feel At Home Around The World?

It's a simple as you probably expect:

Feel At Home In Europe gives you free roaming in 49 EU destinations only, everywhere you'll pay for your usage.

Feel At Home Around The World gets you free roaming in the full list of 71 worldwide destinations, in the EU and beyond.

Can you choose which network to connect to while abroad?

Three have arrangements with particular networks only while you're using Feel At Home, so you do have to stick to those ones while you're abroad.

Do any other networks offer anything similar to Feel At Home?

See our section on how Feel At Home compares with other providers.

But the short answer is “not really”. Other providers’ roaming either costs extra, or only offers the basic EU roaming you get with any provider now.

Does Feel At Home work with Three's MiFi mobile broadband dongles or data-only SIM plan?

It works with both but remember you won't be able to just put the SIM in a phone. Three will detect this and prevent the phone from connecting (they've thought of everything).

How does roaming work when you’re not in a Feel At Home country?

It works like other mobile networks where you'll pay per minute, text or MB data you use. You can find costs per country here on Three's website.

Where to next?
 

Three's SIM plans with Feel At Home

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