How to save on roaming charges if you’re an expat living in the EU

How to save on roaming charges if you’re an expat living in the EU

1024 512 Thumbtel Team

The latest casualties of Brexit are Expats who have fled our gloomy winters and expensive cost of living for warmer climes and better value for money. They will now be hit when using their UK mobile phone contracts in their country of residence, ending almost 5 years of free roaming since the EU ruling of 2017 where mobile networks were banned from charging customers extra to use their phones in other member countries. 

Three rings and hangup?

Before our exit from the EU in 2020, the main UK networks proudly announced customers could continue to roam freely – ‘use your allowances to call and text back to the UK and use your data’, they said. 

This was great for the 1.3 million Brits who reside in the EU. However, in the last few months, the majority of UK mobile phone operators have reneged on their promise, the latest being Three. Ouch! From May 2022, anyone with a Three contract travelling to or living in the EU will return to the days of avoiding calls back to the UK at any cost. Just like the good old days, you might give your Mum three rings and hang up to signal that you’ve arrived, leaving the chat until you’re safely on the hotel WiFi.   

UK citizens who currently use their UK number seamlessly as their main number in the EU will now incur roaming charges; £2 a day to use your monthly allowance in Three’s case.

The solution?

A contract in each country? A PAYG number for when you return to the UK? But then when your friends, family, colleagues or clients in the UK call you whilst you’re at home in Spain for example, they’ll also incur huge charges. What about Whatsapp/Facebook calls? Again, like the good old days, you’ll now need to rely on WiFi to ensure that you’re not charged for roaming whilst using these ‘free’ calling apps that a lot of us rely on. Not a great solution for business as you need something far more robust, with 100% coverage and a number you can always be reached on. 

Virtual Phone Number Solves Brexit Roaming Charges

This is where Another Number for Expats, a second mobile number app, really saves the day. It allows you to add a UK mobile number as a virtual phone number to your local EU mobile, using your local call, SMS and data allowance by simply downloading an app and therefore solving Brexit roaming charges.

Take Sally who moved to Ibiza for example; she was yet to have WiFi installed in her new apartment, had no access to the internet in bars and cafes during lockdown, and had poor coverage on her UK mobile, so she added Another Number for Expats to her new Spanish mobile, enabling her UK contacts to reach her without the need for two phones.

Or one of our long-standing customers who relocated to Italy and ported his UK number to Another Number for Expats as a virtual mobile number on his Italian mobile, so he can continue receiving business calls from the UK whilst starting his new life in Italy. 

So although designed to solve practical issues encountered by Brits abroad, with the new roaming charges applied, Another Number for Expats now has significant cost-saving benefits too!


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