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Should I turn off mobile data when I’m abroad?

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Last updated: 16 February 2022

We’ve all heard the horror stories of some poor soul forgetting to turn their data off while on holiday, only to be hit with £10,000 in charges. While these cases are rare, they can happen. 

This is because using data when you're abroad, also known as roaming, does not always sit within your existing plan, meaning carriers can charge hugely inflated rates. So, rather than turning off your mobile data when you're abroad, it’s roaming you need to worry about, as this is what allows you to access foreign networks.

Whether or not you decide to switch off roaming before you jet off comes down to a few things. Firstly, where you're planning to go.

If you are going to travel outside of the EU, then you will almost certainly not want to be using your mobile data. Doing so in foreign countries that don’t have a ‘data sharing’ agreement with the UK could be financially ruinous. Should you need to access mobile internet in a foreign country, you should purchase a specific package or rely on WiFi.

If you're travelling within the EU, then you might be able to use your data, depending on what phone company you're with. Since Brexit, network providers are not obliged to allow your data allowance to be used in the EU. This means you will need to check the rules with your carrier before going abroad to avoid any nasty surprises when you return.


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Michael Quinn

Author: Michael Quinn

Michael is a dedicated author helping usave to write guides, blogs and news for the last four years. When not writing articles, you can usually find him at wine tasting events or having a political debate on the night tube.

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