What is Data Roaming? Tips for using your phone abroad

With winter Love Island on our screens, you might be feeling in the mood for some sunshine…Perhaps a sunny beach holiday sounds appealing right now? As mobile phones have become such a crucial part of many people’s lives, you might be wondering exactly how to use your mobile phone abroad and what the charges for this will be. 

Last updated: 31st Jan 2020 at 1:07pm

Don’t worry as we are here to give you all the important tips and info to remember when abroad! 

Using your mobile phone abroad used to be an expensive prospect, however, things have changed and finally, the odds are in your favour. If you’re going abroad but still want to keep in touch with the family on WhatsApp or upload your photos onto social media, you will be doing something called ‘Data Roaming.’ Data Roaming refers to any time you’re using your mobile network’s data to access the internet - as opposed to using Wi-Fi. 

What applications use the internet?

  • Social Media Applications (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more)
  • Chat Applications such as WhatsApp
  • Google Maps
  • Emails
  • Browsers

What’s Changed?

Previously, mobile customers had to be careful whilst using minutes, texts and data abroad, if customers weren't careful they would incur extra charges known as roaming costs depending on your holiday location. 

Since June 2017, new EU Regulations have been implemented, delivering the “Roam Like at Home” promise. In its most simple terms, when you are roaming within the European Union, then you will pay the same price you would at home for calls, text messages and mobile data.

Roam Like You’re At Home

If you have an Asda Mobile bundle with calls, text and data allowance, then this will be used to cover your data usage, ensuring that you don’t end up out of pocket. If you have a bundle with unlimited calls and unlimited text messages and are visiting the EU, then you will be able to call and text home to your heart’s content!

If you don’t have a bundle and you’re going abroad to the EU, you will simply pay the same call, text and data charges as if you were in the UK. With pay as you go, you cannot spend more money than you have in your account - meaning no extra costs. Be mindful if you have set up a recurring top-up or a low-balance top-up with Asda Mobile.

 If you’re with another provider, standard rates and roaming in the EU may vary. 

The operator must notify you if you are nearing the fair usage spend limit and if there will be charges for going over the limit. Don’t worry - if you’re on Asda Mobile, we will let you know when you’re nearing the spending limit.

If your destination falls outside these European Countries you can check our other international charges here

How to Use Less Data when you Travel?

Whilst abroad checking Google Maps, using social media and watching YouTube will guzzle up all of your internet data. However, there are plenty of ways to save your data or use less of it while you’re abroad.

  • Connect to Wi Fi hotspots
  • Use ‘light versions’ or apps such as Facebook Lite, Twitter Lite
  • Stop apps from refreshing automatically in the background
  • Use offline mapping tools such as Citymaps2Go or HereweGo
  • Turn your mobile data off

Popular FAQs

Is there a spending limit on my account?  You can use these just like you can at home and that way you can be sure that you don't get hit with a big bill. If you are travelling in the rest of the world, then you can only spend what you have in your Asda mobile account.

Can I top up when abroad? Yes. Make sure you have registered your debit or credit card before you leave the UK, then while you're away you can call 2732 from your Asda Mobile phone and you can top-up on the automated service. If 2732 does not work, use +447953 96 2732 instead. 

Can I check my balance while abroad? You can check your balance in the usual way (simply text ‘BAL’ to 2732 from your Asda Mobile phone) or by calling +447953 96 2732. 

We also have a step-by-step guide to international calling here. This guide will show you how to call a number abroad and will give you the rates of destinations not included in the roam at home deal.

No contracts, no limits
No contracts, no limits

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