Giffgaff bucks roaming trend

UK MVNO giffgaff has announced that from 26 July 2022 customers will have their inclusive data allowance in the EU reduced to 5Gb, with customers able to pay extra to top up beyond that.

While this might appear to be a retrograde step, it contrasts to most other UK operators who have reintroduced European roaming charges following the UK’s exit from the EU – with the outlier being giffgaff’s parent, O2.

  • Tesco Mobile (an O2 MVNO) has reintroduced charges from 1 January 2023 for new and renewing customers.
  • Three had introduced a daily £2 EU roaming charge for new and renewing customers who signed up after October 2021. It will also charge £5 per day in some countries where it had previously allowed free roaming.
  • EE will charge £2 a day in Europe, for customers who joined or renewed after July 2021. It has also introduced 30 day packages for people travelling for longer periods.
  • Vodafone’s approach depends on the tariff and applies to those who renewed or subscribed after September 2021. The cheapest SIM-only deals do not permit roaming; most tariffs charge £2 per day, with 8 and 15 day passes that reduce the cost to £1 a day; the most expensive Xtra tariffs include free roaming.
  • O2 – does not charge for EU roaming but there is a fair use limit of 25Gb.
  • Giffgaff provides free roaming in the EU and selected other destinations up to 5Mb, but the cost per megabyte over that will fall from 36p per Mb to 10p per Mb (the same rate as in the UK).
  • Sky will charge £2 per day for its Roaming Passport Plus which is automatically triggered when someone makes a call, sends a text, or uses more than 10Mb of data while abroad. The pass lasts for 24 hours and covers the EU as well as countries such as Australia, the US and the UAE.
  • Voxi (a Vodafone MVNO) is charging £2 per day for a roaming pass that applies to 49 destinations. It also provides 8 day and 15 day passes charged at £1 per day.
  • MVNO Lebara (uses Vodafone network) recently launched a 30-day SIM only deal at a cost of £5.90 per month (discounted to £1.99 for new customers for the first 5 months), which includes 5GB of data, unlimited UK minutes and texts, 100 international minutes to 41 countries, and free data roaming in the EU and India.

A roaming cap still applies in the UK of £45 per month, with a legal obligation to inform customers when they reach 80% and 100% of their data allowance. Currently networks are not charging for roaming in Ireland. In contrast to their UK peers, EU operators have not yet reimposed roaming charges on their customers visiting the UK.