Customers stranded abroad due to Covid travel restrictions are being cut off by mobile network Three as they have exceeded their two-month roaming limit.
The network’s customers in countries such as Sri Lanka, Brazil and Australia, as well as many more in Europe, have complained that their SIM has been disconnected.
This has left them unable to take personal and work calls, as well as leaving them unable to access their bank accounts.
Three allows its customers to use their call, text, and data allowance in 71 locations worldwide without incurring any extra fees. However, there is a fair usage policy attached to the deal, with a two-month time limit outside of Europe.
The network started to warn its customers last month via text that their service would be disconnected unless they got in contact to explain their situation.
However, many customers have still had their phones disconnected even though they explained to their network that they had no way of getting home.
James Crowley contacted Three two weeks prior to being cut off. He explained that he was stuck in Australia to the mobile operator but they cut his SIM off anyway.
“They completely disabled my sim, rather than just turning off the free roaming and reverting to paid roaming rates which is what I expected. So if like me you’ve been stuck abroad, you can’t receive SMS from your banks or anything else. Even if there were no extenuating circumstances, this seems extreme,” he said.
Eve McCann, who is stuck without phone calls or data in Brazil, said: “No one on live chat can help and my services have been suspended. Extremely worried as I urgently need access for personal and work reasons.”
A spokesperson for Three explained that networks pay foreign providers in order for their customers to benefit from roaming: “We have fair use limits in place to protect against excessive usage. If a customer roams exclusively in a Go Roam Around the World destination for any two complete months in a rolling 12-month period, we’ll usually suspend international roaming on their account.
“We want to keep our customers connected, especially if they are stuck abroad due to the pandemic. If any customers are facing issues, we encourage them to contact our customer service team.”
The spokesperson said that Crowley’s SIM had been cut off due to ‘human error’ and that he has since been reconnected.
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