Using your mobile phone abroad

Mobile phones help you keep in touch while travelling, but international calls can be expensive. Know what questions to ask about international roaming to get the best deal from your network and avoid returning to an unexpectedly large bill.

Roaming

Using your phone overseas (roaming) can cost considerably more than it does at home, particularly if you want to:

  • surf the web a lot
  • upload photos to social networking sites
  • check or send lots of emails

You can also run up a big bill without actively using your phone, as smartphones and 3G/4G enabled tablets automatically seek out mobile connections and use them to update apps.

So unless you turn off data roaming before you go, these devices could be downloading data at standard rates throughout your stay without you realising it.

You can find detailed advice about using a mobile phone abroad on the Ofcom website.

Mobile phone security

Thieves do target tourists' mobile phones. Before you go abroad, make a note of:

  • your mobile's serial number (also known as the IMEI number - you can get this by keying *#06# into your handset or by looking behind your phone battery)
  • the make and model of your handset
  • your mobile phone number
  • the number of your operator's customer services (including UK dialling code)

Keep them with you in a safe place, separate from your mobile.

Make sure you put a passcode on both your handset and SIM to make it more difficult for thieves to use.

If your phone is stolen, you should contact your network provider as soon as possible (within 24 hours if you can).

You can find further advice about keeping your smartphone secure on the Ofcom website.

More useful links

Share this page

Feedback

Would you like to leave feedback about this page? Send us your feedback