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Three Go Roam review: the best and worst bits in one guide

Three logo and a globeVisit Three.co.uk

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

We explain Three's free roaming scheme Go Roam and its benefits, look for any restrictions and judge how it compares with other networks. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: 11th March 2021.

Overall rating

SIM Sherpa rates Go Roam as the best inclusive roaming scheme in the UK
 (4/5, best choice)

"While other networks have caught up with free roaming in the EU, Three still lead the way with more worldwide destinations included as standard on their Go Roam programme than any other provider.

To get our full five-star rating, Three would need remove the fair usage policy and tethering restrictions on Go Roam. But even with them, we still think it's the most generous inclusive roaming scheme in the UK today."

The 3 best bits

1) Large number of destinations
2) Comes with almost every plan
3) New countries may be added

The 3 worst bits

1) 4G not guaranteed everywhere
2) Personal hotspot restrictions
3) Data usage capped while abroad

Where to next?
 

Three's Go Roam explained

Roam in 71 EU/worldwide countries without paying extra

Three Go Roam banner

Inclusive roaming outside EURead Three's guide

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

Roaming used to be an annoyance rather than a benefit - racking up additional charges to your monthly bill per minute, text and MB data. And prices used to rise the further afield you traveled.

Knowing that their customers disapproved, Three came up with their Feel At Home roaming scheme in 2013. This was five years ahead of regulations that made mobile networks offer inclusive EU roaming.

The scheme let you use your regular monthly minutes, texts and data while roaming in selected global destinations, without paying any extra (some restrictions do apply). Free roaming was born!

Today, it goes by the name of Go Roam, which has an impressive list of 71 countries where you can roam for free. The list is regularly growing and can be found here.

Useful link: Skip to things we like about Go Roam

Go Roam is included in practically all types of Three's deals

Product names and Go Roam branding

Pick the plan type with the right benefits for youChoose a plan

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

You'll get a large choice of products that include Go Roam if you’re a new customer of Three. It comes with all pay monthly SIM only deals and phone contracts.

And if you get one of their 30-day or 90-day bundles (Add-Ons), you’ll also be able to get Go Roam on Three’s pay as you go. But it only works in the EU if you just top up and use credit as you go (the same rates apply).

You can even get it on Three's various mobile broadband (data-only) products, where you won’t pay extra for data (subject to fair usage limits) when taking your data SIM, dongle, or tablet to any of the same locations.

Not having to pay extra for your basic deal on such a broad range of plans and price points is certainly a nice to have extra. And none of the alternatives to Three's Go Roam from other networks currently offer this.

Useful link: Get a qualifying Three plan

Any of these Three products come with Go Roam

Select the type of plan you're interested in

Where to next?
 

What we like about Three's Go Roam

Nearly every plan offers this genuine freebie

Three's savings calculator

Three used to have an online savings calculator

The main advantage of Three’s Go Roam scheme is that you can get it at no extra cost on a variety of qualifying plans (more than any alternatives to Go Roam). It is also simple to understand.

Other networks usually add the cost of the extra roaming to your basic monthly bill making it more expensive vs ones that don’t include it. Or, you’d probably have to get costly Add-Ons to include additional destinations.

You won’t get any of this faff with Three as you’ll automatically get Go Roam on every pay monthly deal as standard. This takes out the worry of having to pick the right plan that includes this benefit.

And it’s automatically activated, so you’ll be able to use it abroad without the need to fiddle around with your account or buy passes. You’ll also get a text from Three telling you how much you’ve saved on roaming costs.

Useful link: Three's other roaming costs

European and Worldwide destinations are included

List of Go Roam countries

There are 71 total destinations you can visitSee latest full list

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

In 2017, regulations changed, making it mandatory for mobile networks to let you roam at no extra cost while in the EU. This makes Three's Go Roam less special.

But as you’ll see in our alternatives section further down the page, not many other providers go beyond the basic requirements with inclusive roaming outside Europe.

Three on the other hand, offer an additional 22 worldwide destinations outside the EU, on plans that won’t set you back as much. You can see why Go Roam is so popular (and gets our best roaming rating).

But if you don’t really travel outside of Europe, it might be worth checking if you can find an even cheaper deal. Use our SIM only price comparison tool for an overview of all the networks with free EU roaming.

Useful link: Go Roam compared with the competition

The list of free roaming countries increases occasionally

New Go Roam country flags

New countries are added occasionallySee new additions

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

Three first launched Feel At Home in 2013 (the old name for Go Roam) and only included a few countries. But the list saw a steady increase over the years, which resulted in today's total of 71 destinations.

But the pace of new countries being added has slowed down more recently, with the last set of new destinations being added in 2018. Gone are the days of 10 or more new destinations being added year-on-year.

If Three were to add any new destinations to the list, we’d expect existing customers to still get full access to them. So if your favourite destination isn't currently on the list, it might be included at some point in the future.

If your travel destination isn’t covered by Go Roam, you might want to have a look at Three’s Data Passport, which adds more countries for £5 a day and gives you unlimited data with no restrictions while you're there.

Useful link: Three’s additional Data Passport scheme

You can get Go Roam even if you join temporarily

SIM cards with Go Roam

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

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

If you like the sound of Go Roam but you don’t want to leave your current provider or you’re tied into a contract with another network, you can benefit from Three’s free roaming on a temporary basis too.

You can choose to:

Pay monthly on a 1-month SIM only plan. And as it auto-renews each month, you’re free to cancel with 30 days’ notice once you no longer need it.

Select a Pay As You Go SIM with a monthly add-on. You’ll pay a one-off upfront cost for a block of minutes, texts and data (see all the options here), which lasts for 30 days. And you don’t need to remember to cancel it either.

These are two useful options for when you’re planning a trip abroad and need a temporary SIM to tide you over.

Useful link: All offers currently running on Three

Get Go Roam on top of 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 opinion Three arguably offer the best overall combination of reasonable prices, decent coverage and speeds, plus added benefits, including Go Roam (read our full Three review here).

The likelihood of getting decent coverage is quite high as both their 3G and 4G networks stretch to 99% of the population. And 5G is also now available in 194 cities. Take a look at Three’s coverage near you here.

We also like Three’s WiFi calling feature that allows you to make calls and send text messages using WiFi. Handy when you're somewhere with poor signal.

Another great thing about Three used to be their excellent Go Binge unlimited streaming service. But they’ve recently scrapped a lot of benefits, and Go Binge no longer comes on new plans (see alternative to it here).

Useful link: See all awards Three have won

Where to next?
 

What's not so good about Go Roam

Three’s international coverage list isn’t always up-to-date

No 4G on Feel At Home roaming

4G isn't active in all countriesSee coverage abroad

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

We've physically tested 4G data while abroad and found it to be really fast where we were (60 Mbps). But like in most cases, a lot will depend on the local networks where you're roaming.

Although we’d quite enjoy the challenge, we can't physically get to every country. And from Three's international coverage checkers, it doesn't seem like you'll get 4G in all the places on their list - even if the service is available.

This could be because they haven’t updated their coverage checker or they don’t have agreements with the local networks for 4G in those countries. So, we can’t confidently say that you’ll always get 4G data.

But it’s still worth checking your favourite destinations, because we'd say that their list is mostly up-to-date. It is also worth noting that there's currently no 5G roaming on Three, which might disappoint early adopters.

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

The fair usage policy also applies to unlimited data plans

Three's app screenshot

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

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

You'll be able to use anything up to your entire monthly data allowance while you're abroad if you’re on a plan of 12GB of data or less. And that’s without the hassle of having to think about a fair usage policy on Three.

But if you have a bigger plan, you'll be able to use up to 20GB of your allowance in the EU (you’ll be charged for going over the limit). Or you can use up to 12GB if you travel further afield (after which data stops working).

There’s no fair usage policy for calls and texts in the EU, but in worldwide destinations, you can send 5000 texts back to the UK from your allowance and get 3000 minutes of calls.

We can’t see these limits causing too much of a problem if you’re on holiday for a week or so. It's a lot of data to get through. But heavy users and those with unlimited data, should make a note of these caps.

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

Tethering is restricted on Go Roam

Diagram explaining tethering

Three call tethering "personal hotspot"Read tethering rules

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

Using your mobile phone to create a mini-WiFi hotspot around you is called tethering. This lets you connect to other devices, such as tablets and laptops.

At Three, this goes by the name of "Personal Hotspot". This lets you use anywhere up to the entire data allowance of your pay monthly plan to create your personal hotspot (it's unlimited on unlimited data plans).

But according to Three’s pay monthly price guides, you won’t be able to tether at all when you're in a Go Roam destination (unless you have unlimited data and are visiting the EU).

Three have something called a Data Passport, which is something you might find handy if you want to use tethering and get the very best speeds. For a fixed daily cost, you’ll be able to do both.

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

Where to next?
 

Other restrictions

Three’s SIMs and phones are not for permanent use abroad

Go Roam restrictions

Restrictions are detailed in Three's price guidesSee price guides

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

We can’t really argue with this, so we’ve not included it in our negative section:

Three have designed their SIMs and phone contracts for predominant use in the UK. And Go Roam is supposed to be for UK residents taking temporary trips abroad. We’d say that’s fair enough.

It’s worth pointing out that according to Three’s terms and conditions you can't spend more than 2 months within a rolling 12-month period abroad roaming.

This means that in order to use Go Roam, you need to have "stable links to the UK", such as living here or studying here. But if you're planning to live abroad, we’d say you're better off getting a SIM card locally.

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

Where to next?
 

How Go Roam compares with other networks

Go Roam vs Vodafone’s Global Roaming

Vodafone Global Roaming banner

4G/5G where available but at a premiumSee Vodafone's scheme

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

Vodafone have been self-styling themselves as “The Best Network for Roaming”. So let’s see how they really compare to Three.

Firstly, Vodafone have the advantage of being able to offer 5G / 4G data speeds (when available locally) to their Global Roaming customers. On Go Roam, there are some 3G-only countries, even though they do provide 4G.

Vodafone’s Global Roaming also includes a lot more destinations (156 in total, see full list here), compared with 71 on Three’s Go Roam. So why do we still prefer Three’s scheme in comparison?

In a nutshell, it comes down to price. When it comes to a combination of EU and Worldwide destinations, Three include 71 countries at no extra cost, compared to Vodafone’s 81 countries on a more expensive plan.

Useful link: Read our full Three vs Vodafone comparison guide

Go Roam vs EE’s Roam Further Pass

EE roaming

Choose extra roaming as a Swappable BenefitHow it works

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

EE have Smart Plans, which let you add one or two so-called Swappable Benefits to your plan when you need them. This comes on top of regular EU roaming you get with every provider.

The Roam Further pass is one of them. It lets you use your allowances in 5 extra countries outside the EU. If you’re not on a Smart Plan, you can get the pass for £10 a month. Either way, you'll need to pay extra.

These Smart Plans from EE allow you to choose a 'Roam Further' pass as your Swappable Benefit for the month, which includes free roaming in 5 additional travel destinations outside the EU.

An advantage that EE have over Three is that they give you access to 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 what makes it inferior to Three’s Go Roam is that it doesn’t include as many worldwide destinations (5 compared to 22). You’ll also pay a premium for having Smart plans as they cost more than non-Smart ones.

Useful link: Read our full EE vs Three comparison

Go Roam vs O2’s Travel Passes

O2 inclusive roaming

Fixed daily charge in some countries outside EURead more

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

When it comes to their roaming deals, O2 don’t really make any large statements or advertise them as anything special. But it’s worth looking at how they compare to Three anyway.

For trips abroad, O2 offer their customers a daily pass that comes with a separate allowance of minutes, texts and data (they’re not available for all destinations though). Usage doesn’t come out of your UK plan.

But unlike Three’s Go Roam, which is free of charge, you’ll need to pay a daily charge for these passes (see latest costs here). Saying that, if you’re on a pay monthly plan over 20GB, you won’t have to pay any extra.

We’d say that O2 can’t really compete with Three when it comes to inclusive roaming. You can see how the two networks stack up against each other in general in our full O2 vs Three guide.

Useful link: Full O2 roaming information

Go Roam vs other mobile networks

All networks offer free EU roaming nowRead our guide

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

These days, you’ll find lots of smaller 'virtual' operators who use the big 4's networks and offer lower prices. They usually include EU roaming as standard on their pay monthly deals, but won’t give you more than that.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve rated all providers in order of how good we think their inclusive roaming is in our full guide to the best roaming networks here.

If you don’t really travel outside of the EU, it's worth comparing SIM only prices here or phone contracts here to make sure there isn't a cheaper option than joining Three.

Useful link: The best mobile networks for roaming

Where to next?
 

FAQs

Do you get Go Roam on an Essential plan from Three?

Three don't sell Essential plans to new customers any more but if you're already on one, you get what’s called Go Roam 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 Go Roam Around The World. This is the full version of Go Roam that extends your free roaming to an additional 22 non-EU countries across the globe.

Can you use Go Binge in Go Roam countries for free?

This is one of Three’s legacy customer benefits, which is only available to customers on specific plans that joined between the 24th April 2017 and 30th September 2020. Customers that joined in October 2020 will unfortunately not be able to get this benefit.

Does Brexit have an impact on Go Roam?

No, according to Three, Brexit does not affect Go Roam. You can continue to use your usual allowances in Europe, just like you would at home.

Can I use Go Roam 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 Go Roam in Europe and Go Roam Around The World?

It's a simple as you probably expect:

Go Roam in Euroupe gives you free roaming in 49 EU destinations only, everywhere you'll pay for your usage.

Go Roam The World gets you free roaming in the full list of 71 worldwide destinations, in the EU and beyond.

There are some subtle differences to do with tethering, unlimited data and fair usage policies depending on whether you're in the EU or in a worldwide destination.

Can you choose which network to connect to while abroad?

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

Do any other networks offer anything similar to Go Roam?

See our section on how Go Roam 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 Go Roam 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 Go Roam 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 Go Roam

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