EU roaming fees are back in the UK and eSIM data plans could be a cost-effective alternative for travelers

Paris, January 10th, 2022

While the European Parliament has renewed its “Roam like at home” policy for 10 years[1], three of the four major UK mobile operators reintroduce the roaming fees for their customers traveling to Europe as an aftermath of Brexit. Brits will therefore have to pay more to use their mobile phone within Europe and alternative eSIM data plans could be a solution for UK consumers traveling abroad.

What does the reintroduction of roaming charges mean for UK consumers?

Vodafone, EE and Three have recently announced their decision to reinstate roaming fees for their consumers traveling within Europe. Customers on their newest mobile plans will have to pay £2 a day to use their monthly allowance in the EU (call, SMS, data), with the possibility to activate roaming passes to reduce these charges. To this day, O2 remains one of the major UK operators not charging its consumers for EU roaming. It chose instead to impose a “fair use” charge if customers use more than their data allowance to a maximum of 25GB, charging £3.5 per GB when the allowance is exceeded.

Comparison between Ubigi and UK operators: time to switch to the eSIM?

Since 2018, Ubigi provides eSIM* data plans in 180+ countries to travelers with eSIM compatible smartphones (such as iPhone 11/ 12/ 13/ XS/ XR/ SE, Samsung S20/ S21, Pixel 3/ 4/ 5/ 6…), tablets (iPad Mini/ Air/ Pro, Surface Pro…) and a number of laptops operating on Windows 10 and 11.
To respond to UK travelers’ concerns, Ubigi established a data roaming costs comparison with the four major UK mobile operators when visiting popular European tourist destinations. For more accuracy, Ubigi looked at available roaming passes. However, these must be activated before departure which increases the risk for the consumer to pay the full roaming charges.

Using the average data usage by its UK consumers in July/August 2021 ( 2.6GB ), Ubigi determines that an average consumer traveling within Europe would be most likely to buy the 30-day 3GB eSIM data plan .

1 Price for a 30-day 3GB eSIM data plan
2 This will apply to anyone who signs up to a new contract or renews their existing one from August 11, 2021. Those who remain on their existing price plan will not be affected. Xtra plans with Xtra benefits will still have roaming included. 8-day roaming pass costs £8. 15-day roaming pass costs £15.
3 Applies to pay monthly handset and SIM customers who have joined or upgraded after July 7, 2021, and pay monthly tablet, laptop and mobile broadband customers who have joined or upgraded after Aug 18, 2021. Those who have a plan with Smart Benefits can choose Roam Abroad as a Smart Benefit. Roam abroad add-on costs £10 for one month.

In most cases, buying an Ubigi eSIM data plan is less expensive than paying UK operators’ roaming fees.

The savings can be significant when traveling as a family and everyone needs an internet connection. Note: even with O2, purchasing an eSIM data plan could be more economical when the initial plan allocation is used up, instead of paying the extra £ 3.5 per GB.

Thus, Ubigi recommends that UK customers switch completely to data and not use SMS, MMS or regular phone calls abroad. This can be easily configured in the settings of the mobile phone. An eSIM data plan allows you to call, send SMS, photos, videos via communication applications (such as WhatsApp) and can completely replace a traditional SIM card (call, SMS and data). Moreover, the eSIM can be used to connect tablets and laptops too, which can be handy for trips with kids or bleisure travel.

* What is an eSIM?

The eSIM is a new feature built into many models of recent smartphones, tablets, and computers. It allows you to activate a mobile data plan instantly, without having to use a physical SIM card.

Its users can combine multiple eSIM profiles from different operators and easily switch between them in the device settings. eSIM offers a safer connection than Wi-Fi, enabling its customers to work or access the Internet from wherever they want.

With the data plans provided by Ubigi, significant savings can be made when traveling abroad, thanks to all the international agreements signed by the brand in more than 180 countries and destinations. Ubigi’s subscribers thus benefit from prepaid data plans at nearly local rates, with no surprises in terms of roaming charges!

About Ubigi

Ubigi is Transatel’s brand dedicated to consumers of mobile services in the Internet of Things. Ubigi offers its customers to stay “always connected” thanks to prepaid mobile data plans at almost local rates in more than 180 destinations around the world. The service is available on eSIM compatible smartphones, PCs, tablets as well as connected cars from partner manufacturers. To learn more about Ubigi, please visit:  www.ubigi.com

About Transatel (Subsidiary of NTT Ltd.)

Transatel provides global cellular connectivity solutions for Mobile Virtual Network Operators, Internet of Things (IoT) and distributed workforces. As the leading MVNE in Europe and pioneer in machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless communication, Transatel manages over 90 MVNOs and more than 3 million SIM cards and eSIM profiles across 180 destinations worldwide for customers such as Airbus, Stellantis, Worldline, and Jaguar Land Rover. Learn more about Transatel at https://www.transatel.com

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[1] Introduced in Europe in 2017 “Roam like at home” policy which enables European consumers to call and use their mobile data for the same price as in their home country when they go to another destination within the EU.

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