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Data roaming in Europe: roaming charges and best SIM cards available

Data roaming in Europe: roaming charges and best SIM cards available

Fernando Carrillo

Fernando Carrillo Entry updated on Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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Data roaming in Europe is free for all Virgin Media and O2 customers, whereas clients from other mobile phone carriers may need to pay up to £2 per day to use their data, text and minutes allowance in any European destination. For long trips to Europe you may consider other options, like an Holafly SIM card, which allows you to travel inside of Europe free of charges.

Data roaming in Europe: what does this mean?

Data roaming in Europe allows you to use the data included in your UK tariff whenever you visit a European country, this means that you can still use your social media or messaging apps on your smartphone without the need to change your SIM card each time you visit a different destination.

Besides using your data allowance, you can also send text messages or make phone calls in case you need to urgently contact someone from the UK or the country you are visiting. Also, your phone will automatically connect to the local phone network, so you do not have to worry about anything.

The network used for European Network will not only vary between countries, but also from carrier to carrier. Keep in mind that operators have different roaming partners, so the network available for EE customers in France could not be the same than the one available for Vodafone customers, for example.

Is data roaming free in Europe?

Data roaming is no longer free in Europe if you are from the UK. Since 2021, UK operators no longer have to offer free roaming inside the EU, as a consequence you may have to pay additional charges to use your phone in any European destination. However some phone carriers have decided to keep their free roaming policies for some or all their customers.

For instance, Virgin Media and O2 announced that they will keep offering free roaming inside of Europe for all their customers, whereas other companies have decided to slowly reintroduce these roaming charges during 2022.

The Roam like Home initiative, which created the European roaming free zone, was proposed by the European Commission and therefore it only applied to those countries belonging to the European Union. Since UK left the EU, national providers no longer have to follow this guidelines, that is why roaming in Europe, or at least the EU, could no longer be free for you.

However, you can still roam in the Republic of Ireland for free. Most companies still offer free roaming in this country so as to prevent their Northern Ireland customers from accidentally connecting to a mobile signal form the Republic of Ireland.

What are the roaming charges in Europe?

The roaming charges in Europe may vary depending on your operator and on your destination. However, most companies will charge you £2 a day to use the data and minutes included in your contract in any country from the European Union.

Moreover, if you do not make a phone call or connect to the regional 5G or 4G networks, you will not even need to pay this extra charge. This means that, if you do not use your phone, you can still visit Europe from the UK without paying any roaming charges.

Also, keep in mind that you will only have to pay extra charges to roam in Europe in this particular cases:

  • You have upgraded your contract during 2022 or the end of 2021
  • You have joined a new phone company during the end of 2021 or 2022
  • You switched your phone services to a new provider during 2021 or 2022

That is why those customer who did not change their phone tariffs or switched companies, can still roam in Europe without charges. However, this policies can change depending on your tariff or data plan.

For those outside of the European Union or the European Economic Area, special charges could apply, please call your carrier to know more about roaming charges in the country you are interested in in particular.

Best SIM card for data roaming in Europe

An Holafly eSIM card is the best SIM card for data roaming in Europe, as it allows you to use high-speed internet in over 40 European countries without worrying about roaming charges at all. So you can use whether you are visiting France, Germany or you just want to avoit roaming charges in Spain.

With Holafly you will receive a European SIM card with up to 10GB which you can use inside of the European Economic Area and, most importantly, all Holafly data plans are price fixed, which means you do not have to worry about extra roaming charges when you run out of data. Something that could happen with your UK contract. These are all the data plans available for Europe on Holafly:

Holafly European data plans
3GB for 7 days 29€
5GB for 15 days 34€
8GB for 20 days 44€
10GB for 30 days 54€

For instance, if you had to pay for European roaming for a month, you would have to pay over £60 to use your data allowance, however choosing an Holafly eSIM card for Europe, you would only pay 54€ instead. That is why, for lengthy trips, buying an Holafly SIM card is the best option.

Roam in Europe for less with Holafly

You can check other Holafly destionations, where you can also enjoy the company's fixed price data plans:

Frequently asked questions about roaming in Europe

Can I have data roaming on in Europe?

You can have data roaming on in Europe, however if you are not going to use your phone or you do not want to pay roaming charges, it is best to turn it off to avoid any extra costs.

Is Turkey in Europe for data roaming?

Turkey is not included in the European roaming free zone, that is why you will have to pay a special roaming charges if you use your phone in this country. However, some phone operator offer roaming bundles with which it is cheaper to roam in Turkey.

Fernando Carrillo Fernando Carrillo Fernando estudió Administración, Publicidad y Relaciones Públicas. Con más de dos años de experiencia en Roams, Fernando es experto en el asesoramiento sobre telefonía, tarifas de móvil e internet. Además, también es especialista en canales de televisión y las distintas ofertas que tienen los operadores con tv.