Three UK abolishes U.S. roaming charges

Huge news this morning from Three UK, with the announcement of a raft of expansions to its roaming abolishing 'Feel at Home' program which now includes the United States. That means that Three customers heading Stateside can roam freely at no extra charge using their own UK allowance of calls, texts and data so keeping connected with home won't cost a penny extra.

Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Macau are also joining the program, which now makes U.S. roaming cheaper than going to most European countries at this point. When you land in the the States or any of the included countries, your phone will connect to a local network and you can just use your phone without having to worry about a massive bill. Calls to non-UK numbers are still charged at regular rates however, as are texts, but it won't cost anything extra to contact folks back home.

All pay-as-you-go, contract, business and mobile broadband customers are included so long as international roaming is activated on their accounts. Three is the first carrier in the UK to offer something like this to include the United States, where traditionally roaming packages are expensive and less than ample in what they actually offer.

So, this is a huge deal. As a Three customer myself with a U.S. trip looming this couldn't have come at a better time. Find out more at the source link below, but with this and the impending LTE launch, has there been a better time to be a Three customer?

Source: Three

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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There are 28 comments. Add yours.

BenRoethig says:

Richard, you'll get to find out how truly terrible the US GSM networks are.

Richard Devine says:

Already have. Have had to use them on several previous trips and pay a pretty penny for the 'privilege' ;-)

BenRoethig says:

definitely better getting it for free.

jlb21 says:

Too bad this would never happen in the other direction.....

Richard Devine says:

Isn't Tmo working on something similar?

CrzyP says:

T-Mobile USA has already implemented their own version. They didn't eliminated all roaming fees but now give free 2g data and calls & texts to the US while abroad. While in participating countries, calls and texts to other lines while in that country are just $0.20.

zdn1042 says:

This sounds like a really sweet deal. I wish the carriers in my country would offer a similar program.

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Quintus says:

Wow! Rogers in Canada just launched an ad about making it easier to roam in the US. Thought it was going to be similar until they priced data at $7.99 per day for a lousy 50MB. What a joke compared to this!

abz199 says:

3 should maybe sort out the atrocious network coverage in the UK first before entertaining free roaming perks in the US. Aside from the excellent and eye-catching monthly packages, the single reason why I switched carriers was the network signal.
Enjoy your trip Richard.

Richard Devine says:

Depends where you are, like every carrier. I've personally found Three to be plenty good enough and fast enough in most places I visit. Struggles inside sometimes, and doesn't like one area of the town I live in, but overall it's still giving me the best experience.

Though now I've got EE LTE finally...

abz199 says:

You're absolutely right, but overall 3 was just pants for me; was counting down the days until my contract finished so I could switch and could not be happier with Virgin Mobile unlimited

Richard Devine says:

Virgin isn't a bad choice I have to say. Runs off EE, and something I definitely considered being a Virgin Media TV and broadband subscriber. I like to think that even though LTE is only just catching up here in the UK we're not quite as screwed by all the carriers :)

abz199 says:

Myself and many others would most definitely agree with you on that one!

moroboshi says:

Three is far and away the best carrier in the UK. Nobody else in the UK can match their uncapped data and free roaming. They may not do LTE yet, but I get 20mbit on their 3G service anyway, so I can't say I miss it.

Team George says:

This is excellent news - so if you have unlimited data will you simply be able to surf indefinitely stateside?

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Richard Devine says:

Yup :) You can't call or text anyone with a U.S. number for free, only UK numbers, but you can Instagram the crap out of your Stateside trips now for no extra charge!

nadnosliw says:

Who needs to call or text these days? iMessage, Whatsapp, Viber, Hangouts, FaceTime etc.

If data's included I think it's a fantastic deal. Pity Europe not included as I usually holiday there.

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Solublepeter says:

Note that If you are on PAYG with Three, you need to buy an add-on package of minutes to benefit from the "Feel at home" pricing, which seems fair enough.

I don't use my phone that much now that I work from home, so Three's 3-2-1 PAYG package has been a real moneysaver in the UK for me, compared to monthly pricing, and the rates are very cheap too.

I'm going to France in a few months, which isn't in the "Feel At Home" countries unfortunately, so I'll doubtless be gouged as usual! Ho-hum.

(I can't believe how bad the phone pricing is for US customers generally, though, just awful!)

Richard Devine says:

In the EU you can buy an add-on for £5 a day which lets you use your UK data allowance abroad. I've used it the past two years to get me through the IFA trade show and it's at least not overly expensive!

Solublepeter says:

Thanks Richard, but that only applies to monthly contracts.

"Your Euro Internet Pass is only available if you've got a Pay Monthly contract."
http://support.three.co.uk/SRVS/CGI-BIN/WEBISAPI.DLL?Command=New,Kb=Mobi...(6018)

applelex says:

That is great and the marketing name is genius. It'd be great if carriers in my country offered a similar deal.

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Stuartino says:

I'm gutted, was in Las Vegas fortnight ago, just got my 3 network £126($220) phone bill :( and that was only using data when it was absolutely necessary, £3 per mb! So you can I didn't us much 30mb

nathers says:

I have to say, as atrocious as 3's network can be at times, the truly unlimited data part of it is a blessing (have atrocious broadband speeds where I currently live so just use my phone to hotspot, and it's great not having to worry about how many GBs of data I'm chewing through)! Have Three got a similar system in place for the EU, or are roaming charges being abolished across all networks?

Richard Devine says:

In EU countries contract customers can pay £5 a day for a Euro Internet Pass and use their data allowance from back home. In countries with a 3 network like Austria and Ireland Feel at Home will apply

dawggg63 says:

AT&T... CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

BeyondtheTech says:

Just shows how much US carriers are milking their customers for paltry service.

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asuperstarr says:

That is great! All carriers should offer the same. Just saying...

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Yechiya Berzon says:

http://support.three.co.uk/SRVS/CGI-BIN/WEBISAPI.DLL?Command=New,Kb=Mobi...(8216)
This is a market shaker, however there seems to be some short falls
Interesting limitations:
- can't call locally in the USA, just back to UK (unless you have a friend with ThreeUK with you in the USA; their phone you can call)
- caveat about slower data than usual and no tethering.