Three’s Feel At Home: No Roaming Charges in the USA, Italy & 9 Other Countries

January 8th, 2014

Three has scrapped international roaming charges in eleven countries. They include the USA, Italy, Australia and Republic of Ireland.

ThreeIt’s normally a hugely expensive affair to use your smartphone abroad. Hefty roaming charges for using your mobile can quickly add up to hundred of pounds. This can be a fairly substantial addition to the cost of your family holiday. At present, many people turn off their smartphones to avoid roaming charges.

Three has launched a new roaming package known as Feel At Home. For customers travelling to 11 selected countries, roaming charges have been scrapped. You can now use UK allowances including the data that comes with your plan (e.g. all-you-can-eat data). You can also call and text home without paying a penny extra. It’s great for sharing your holiday photos (e.g. Instagram and Facebook), finding your way around using Google Maps and staying in touch with your friends at home.

Feel At Home can be used in eleven countries including Australia, Italy, the Republic of Ireland and United States of America. You’ll need to have a SIM card from Three (this could be a SIM only plan or Pay As You Go SIM card with an All-in-One bundle). If your handset isn’t normally on Three, you can pick up a SIM card to benefit from the offer.

What is Feel At Home?

Feel at HomeFeel At Home is a new roaming offer from Three UK. Customers travelling abroad to 11 selected countries can now use their UK allowances at no extra charge. The offer includes calls, texts and internet. For smartphone owners, this means you can continue using apps, browsing the internet, sending e-mails and updating social networks whilst travelling on holiday.

Feel At Home Countries

The following eleven countries are included in the Feel At Home offer:

  • Austria
  • Australia
  • Denmark
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Italy
  • Macau
  • Going AbroadRepublic of Ireland
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sweden
  • United States of America

For travellers visiting a country on this list, the potential savings can be quite substantial. Imagine a family taking a trip to Orlando, USA. On rival mobile networks, you’ll pay at least £1/minute for calling home to the UK. A daily phone call home of around five minutes would cost you £35 over just one week. Add in the cost of browsing the internet (between £10/day and £60/day) and you can easily run up a bill of several hundred pounds over a one week holiday.

Network Making a Phone Call Receiving a Phone Call Sending a Text Accessing the Internet
EE £1.00/minute £1.00/minute 40p/text £3/day for 20MB
O2 £1.10/minute 90p/minute 40p/text £6 per MB
Orange £1.10/minute 70p/minute 40p/text £10/day for 100MB
T-Mobile £1.20/minute £1.20/minute 40p/text £10/day for 100MB
Three Included Included Included Included
Vodafone £1.35/minute £1.00/minute 35p/text £3 per MB

Comparison of roaming charges when using your smartphone in the USA. Costs are shown for calling the UK and for sending a text to the UK.

As Feel At Home uses your UK allowances, you won’t be charged one penny extra unless you exceed the allowances included on your plan.

For European countries outside of the Feel At Home offer, Three has the Euro Internet Pass as a great alternative. £5/day gives you all-you-can-eat data throughout the whole of Europe. Phone calls are 24.5p/minute and texts are 7.8p each.

View SIM Card Offers from Three »

Feel At Home is available on Three’s SIM only plans. It’s also available on Pay As You Go when you buy an “All in One” bundle.

Out of Bundle Charges

If you run out of your inclusive allowances, you’ll pay the following out of bundle rates when travelling in a Feel At Home country:

Calling Rates:
Voice calls to UK 20p/minute (any network, any time)
Voice calls to another country Standard roaming rates (24p/min to £1.40/min)
Receiving voice calls Free
Messaging Rates:
Text message (SMS) to UK 7p
Text message (SMS) to another country Standard roaming rates (8p to 35p)
Picture message (MMS) Standard roaming rates (~36p)
Video message Standard roaming rates (~38p)
Internet Rates:
3G Internet 10p/MB

The out of bundle charges shown in this table are for roaming in a “Feel At Home” country. Source for pricing information: Three.co.uk. For more information and to check the roaming charges specific to a country, refer to Three’s international roaming guide.

If you’re a Pay As You Go customers on the 321 tariff, you won’t have inclusive allowances on your plan. This means you’ll pay the out of bundle charges for all calls, texts and internet made in a Feel At Home country (you can’t use the normal UK rates of 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB).

It’s normally better value to add an All In One bundle to your Pay As You Go plan. This would give you some inclusive allowances to be used on the Feel At Home offer (see the Three website for further details). All in One 10 gives you 100 minutes, 3000 texts and 500MB of data for £10/month. Meanwhile, All in One 15 has 300 minutes, 3000 texts and all-you-can-eat data.

Limitations & Restrictions

It’s worth being aware that “Feel At Home” has a couple of restrictions. Firstly, tethering isn’t permitted when travelling in a Feel At Home country. Secondly, data usage is restricted to 25GB/month. You’ll be cut off if you use more than this twice in one year (this is highly unlikely for the average user). Finally, there are restrictions in place so you can’t use the service exclusively abroad (Feel At Home is for occasional trips abroad rather than for people living abroad).

Tethering Isn’t Permitted Abroad

Tethering

Tethering is not permitted in Feel At Home countries.

In the UK, customers on The One Plan can use the “portable wi-fi hotspot” feature to share their mobile internet connection with other devices. This is referred to as tethering and is commonly used to connect a tablet or laptop to the internet when away from home.

The Feel At Home offer prohibits you from tethering whilst travelling abroad. This can be found in the terms and conditions for the offer:

Customers cannot use their smartphone as a modem to connect other devices such as laptops and tablets – also known as “tethering”, in the countries listed above.

Three has also added that streaming and accessing VPNs may be slower than if you were in the UK. The speed limitation is unlikely to affect many users under normal day-to-day smartphone usage (e.g. web browsing, e-mail, messaging and apps). However, if you’re watching a number of videos online or attempting to access a secure corporate network, you may notice some speed reductions.

Fair Usage Policy

There’s a fair usage policy when using your allowances abroad. You can use a maximum of 3000 minutes, 5000 texts and 25GB per month. If you exceed the fair usage policy twice in one year, you’ll be blocked from using the Feel At Home service.

Living Abroad

EarthThe Feel At Home offer isn’t designed for people living abroad. You mustn’t use Three exclusively abroad for more than 3 months per year. As long as you use the service in the UK during a given month, it won’t count towards your quota of 3 months per year.

If you’re a frequent traveller, there shouldn’t be a problem using Feel At Home (e.g. people in the UK who frequently visit the Republic of Ireland). Providing you use your phone in the UK at least once a month for 9 or more months of the year, you’ll be fully within the terms of use.

According to Three’s terms and conditions:

This offer is intended to be used by UK residents travelling abroad, and Three reserves the right to suspend the service in the event the UK allowance is used exclusively abroad for three (3) months within a twelve (12) month period.

Alternatives

If you’re travelling to a Feel At Home country, Three’s offer is by far the best deal available on the market. If you’re not a customer of Three, we recommend getting a one month SIM card so you can benefit from the offer.

For countries that aren’t part of the Feel At Home offer, you may be able to find cheaper deals elsewhere. For travel within Europe, our recommended plan is Vodafone’s Data Traveller. For £2/day, you’ll get 25MB of data for travelling in Europe. You can also use your UK allowances as part of the Vodafone Passport programme (though you’ll be charged a 75p connection charge for every call made or received).

For more information, see our in-depth guide to the best SIM cards for roaming in Europe.

Non-Three Customers: How To Benefit From The Offer

Feel At Home is only available to customers on Three. Customers on other networks can benefit from the offer by picking up a temporary SIM card. Three’s 30 day SIM only plans are perfect for this purpose. They’re a great choice for getting online when you’re abroad and also for staying in touch with home. We recommend the £12.90 deal which gives you 600 minutes, 5000 texts and 1GB of internet.

Other choices for 30 day plans include:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Three2005000500MB£9.90
Three2005000Unlimited£12.90
Three60050001GB£12.90
Three6005000Unlimited£18.90
Three2,0005000Unlimited£23.00

These 30-day SIM only contracts are compatible with the “Feel At Home” offer. The inclusive minutes and texts can be used abroad in a “Feel At Home” country. The “unlimited” internet tariffs have a fair usage policy of 25GB/month when abroad in a “Feel At Home” country.

Three will assign you with a new UK-based phone number. To continue receiving calls on your existing number, you can set up call forwarding to your new number. Most networks won’t charge you extra for forwarding your calls to Three. Please note: you might need to unlock your smartphone before using a Three SIM card.

If you don’t want to sign a new contract, consider getting a Pay As You Go SIM card with an All in One bundle.

Switching to Three: Keeping Your Phone Number

Transfer Phone Number to Three

Customers on another network can bring their phone number to Three.

If you’re joining Three to take advantage of the Feel At Home offer, it’s a straightforward process to keep your old phone number.

Start by asking your existing mobile network to issue you with a PAC Code. When your new phone or SIM card arrives from Three, fill out the form here on Three’s website. After you’ve provided the PAC Code to Three, they’ll schedule the transfer of your phone number for the next working day. In the meantime, you’ll continue receiving service on your old mobile network.

For step-by-step instructions on transferring a phone number to Three, please select your current mobile network:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to Three

Your current network provider:

  More Options

If you’re only using Three on a temporary basis, it’s best to set up call forwarding on your existing number rather than transferring your phone number entirely.

More Information

For more information on the “Feel At Home” offer, please refer to the Three website. You should also refer to the terms and conditions of the offer.

    

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About Ken

Ken Lo

I'm a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005 with the aim of demystifying mobile technology for the rest of us.

Before writing about mobile technology, my background was in space & atmospheric physics. I have also worked in software development. Nowadays, I help companies to explain mobile technology to their customers. Please check out my portfolio or get in touch for more information. I'm also on Google+.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 3 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Fred said:

    The USA is hardly “a country people rarely travel to”. I spend a damn sight more time there than in France. This deal is basically the reason I am now a Three customer.

  2. Paul said:

    What a joke! Free for countries people rarely travel to, France will never be free, three like to rip people off, as it’s the most likely destination for Brits, I’m ending my three contract purely on the principle, I’ve been with three for 10 years roughly, now this will make me leave, it’s wrong.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Paul,
      It is a shame that only a few countries are currently part of the “Feel At Home” scheme. When Three first launched “Feel at Home” back in August 2013, it only covered countries where Three has their own local network (Austria, Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, the Republic of Ireland and Sweden). I can see the rationale behind this: it’s much easier for Three to negotiate with other networks when they’re part of the same group (Hutchinson Whampoa). Only in December did they begin to add some extra countries such as the USA where Three doesn’t have their own network. I hope the scheme continues to expand over time – though in my opinion they do deserve applause for launching such an offer.
      Ken

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