EE has hiked the cost of its roaming pass yet again in a move that means some customers will now have to pay 150% more than they did earlier this year. Here’s what you need to know and how to cut roaming costs.
The monthly Roam Abroad add-on allows you to use your standard allowance of data, minutes and texts in the EU and other countries including the USA and Australia. It used to compare favourably with roaming add-ons from other mobile providers, but two price rises in 2023 – the latest of which has added £10 to the price of the pass – means you can now get a better deal elsewhere.
You may still be able to haggle the price down as EE offers one of the best chances of achieving a ‘big success’ compared to other suppliers. The network also allows customers to include roaming as an inclusive extra which may cut the cost of the pass. Visit our top SIM-only deals guide to see the cheapest deals from other providers if you are looking to switch away from EE.
So, how can EE customers get around the roaming pass hike – and how does the offer now stack up against other providers’ deals? Here are all the need-to-knows.
How much does EE Roam Abroad cost and how has it changed?
You have two options when it comes to roaming in Europe with EE that have been in place since free roaming ended when the UK left the EU. Either you:
- Pay daily: you can take your minutes, texts and data allowances on holiday with you for a flat rate of £2.29 a day.This rate was originally £2 a day.
- Roam Abroad pass: for £25 you can get everything you’d get at home for a month on a rolling contract.
Both options are available across 47 European destinations plus the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. They apply to handset and SIM plans that started on or after 7 July 2021. If you are on a contract that started before then, you still get free roaming.
At £25 a month, Roam Abroad is now 150% more expensive than it was only nine months ago. Until 18 October 2023, it cost £15 and before March 2023 it was just £10.
The provider has brought in these hikes because it says it’s been hit by higher costs for providing a roaming service and has also invested in its network and UK customer services.
Is the EE Roam Abroad pass worth it?
If you’re an EE customer and you’re going to be in Europe or the five included countries outside of Europe for more than 10 days, the pass is still more cost effective than paying the daily rate with EE.
Say you get it as an inclusive extra (for example, you bundle it with Apple TV and TNT Sports), it may well work out to be even cheaper. This is particularly the case if you’re planning to travel beyond Europe, where roaming charges can be even steeper.
But if you’re someone who places a high value on roaming when on holiday, and regularly roams in Europe, you may be better served by another provider – see our cheap SIM deals guide for more.
Those who are still within their minimum term cannot break out of their contract based on the Roam Abroad pass price hike in itself without incurring a hefty exit fee. So, you may have to wait until your contract expires before you can take advantage of deals elsewhere.
How does EE Roam Abroad compare?
Several providers offer roaming in Europe for free, although you may have to apply an add-on to your deal to take advantage – and some limit the amount of data you can use. You can get it for free with:
- Tesco Mobile (uses O2’s network)
- BT Mobile (uses EE’s network)
- Lyca Mobile (uses EE’s network)
- iD Mobile (uses Three’s network)
- Smarty (uses Three’s network)
Other providers charge you to use your minutes, calls and data in Europe. But two work out as cheaper than EE (assuming your holiday will last for up to a fortnight):
- Vodafone: you can get an 8-day pass for £10 or a 15-day one for £15
- Three: 3-day Go Roam In Europe passes cost £5 or it’s £10 for 7 days or £20 for 14 days
How can I beat the EE Roam Abroad price hike?
If your EE deal is no longer within the minimum term – or has expired – and you’re keen to bag a better roaming deal, there are several options. You can:
- Like EE’s coverage? Go with a ‘piggybacker’ that doesn’t charge for roaming. Several brands use EE’s network and offer the same coverage. The biggest names are BT Mobile and Lyca Mobile – both don’t charge for roaming.
- Switch to a provider that still offers free roaming in Europe. O2 doesn’t, nor do smaller providers Tesco Mobile, iD Mobile and Smarty (as well as BT and Lyca as mentioned above). See Cheap SIM-only deals.
- Try an international eSIM. These allow you to hop between networks virtually. So, you can keep your EE Sim and number, and just switch to an international Sim while roaming. When you’re abroad, they can allow you to get on a local network and pay local rates. Most new iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S (S20 onwards) have this feature installed. The only downside is you will need to research local networks to see if their plans work out as cheaper than a standard roaming pass.
- Get a Three Pay As You Go SIM. Three charges for roaming on its monthly plans, but not on its PAYG SIMs. You’ll have to use a new number, but it may be cheaper than buying an add-on with EE.
- On a pre-7 July 2021 EE plan? Don’t renew. if your plan began before 7 July 2021, European roaming charges won’t apply to you. So, you should stick with your existing plan if you’re keen to keep your inclusive mobile use when abroad (although you should check you aren’t already massively overpaying).