How much will calls cost on my mobile when I’m on holiday?

Tourist on phoneMost mobile phone companies do charge customers additional sums for using their phones outside the UK.

These are known as roaming charges and in some cases they can be substantially more than the rates users would pay for domestic use of their mobile.

EU law requires all mobile companies to offer special voice and SMS tariffs called the Eurotariff and the Euro-SMS tariff. Companies cannot charge more than a specified amount for these tariffs. They are available across most European countries but not in Switzerland, Turkey or Croatia.

All customers automatically benefit from the Eurotariff and the Euro-SMS tariff, unless they have chosen to switch to another roaming tariff offered by their operator. Whether an alternative tariff will work out cheaper for you will depend on how you use roaming services. Check the different roaming offers before you travel to ensure you are getting the best deal.

Your operator is required to send you a message with personalised roaming price information when you first enter another EU country (plus Norway and Iceland), and to provide a free phone number for more information.

Other options to keep costs down abroad are to buy a local SIM card that can be used in your mobile handset, or a local dongle for your laptop, especially if you often visit the same country. International SIM cards are also available, which work in a variety of different countries. It is also worth checking the price of using local WiFi hotspots.

From 1 July 2010 all mobile operators apply a cut-off limit once your mobile internet bill reaches 50 Euros – around £40 – when you’re travelling in the European Union.

This will happen automatically, unless you opt out. Additionally, some providers may offer different cut-off limits apart from €50, for you to select.

Mobile operators must also send customers a text message or email when they reach 80% and then 100% of the agreed limit.

Operators must then stop providing and charging for that service when the limit is met unless the customer re-authorises their account.

Operators should explain to customers how to re-authorise their account, and how much any additional data would cost.

Customers that do not wish to benefit from this cut-off limit can opt-out by contacting their operator.

Learn more about using your mobile abroad and using your smartphone or tablet abroad.