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Using your mobile abroad

Started ‎23-03-2012 by
Modified ‎15-11-2017 by

When you go abroad, your device will be able to connect to local network providers, so you can carry on using your giffgaff SIM for calls, texts and data. This is called roaming.

Charges can vary depending on where you are travelling to, so be sure to check the roaming pricing page and the extra info in this guide.

More Information

  • When you arrive in a new country, you'll receive a text about the roaming charges there
  • Roaming in some countries requires you to have credit in your account.
  • Check your balance online at https://giffgaff.com/dashboard, on the giffgaff app, by keying *100# [SEND] or dialling 43430 then option 2
  • You may need to top-up the credit in your account. To do so, head to https://giffgaff.com/top-up
  • The usage statement will show your mobile charges from roaming
  • To call a UK number while abroad, you'll need to add the international dialling code – strip off the 0 at the beginning of the number and add +44 instead (or 00 44)
  • Which countries and territories are included in the "Roam Like Home" agreement?

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus (South), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland (including Aland Islands), France (including Corsica, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, Reunion, Saint Martin and additionally, Saint Barthelemy), Germany, Gibraltar, Greece (including all islands), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy (including Sardinia, Sicily, and additionally, San Marino, Vatican City), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands (but NOT Aruba, Curaçao or Sint Maarten), Norway, Poland, Portugal (including Azores, Madeira), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (including Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla), Sweden.

If you need further clarification on the country you're travelling to or want to check out the costs when you are visiting other countries, see our roaming page.

  • Which countries and territories within and adjacent to continental Europe are NOT included?

Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus (North), Faroe Islands, Greenland, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine.

Both calls and texts made and received along with data usage while visiting these places are all charged at giffgaff's "Rest of World" rates.

If you need further clarification on the country you're travelling to or want to check out the costs when you are visiting other countries, see our roaming page.

  • goodybags and gigabags

You can use your goodybag or gigabag allowance while travelling in the EU. This does not include being still in UK. This means that data usage, calls and texts to standard UK landline and mobile numbers, and numbers in the other EU countries will simply be deducted from your remaining allowance.

Calls and texts are free to receive.

This is at no extra cost, apart from on the £20 goodybag where additional data is charged £0.0078 /MB (that's less than a penny) if you have used over 9GB of data.

Please Note: You will still be able to start your next goodybag early after 9GB of Always On data. Please see How can I buy a goodybag early for more information.

This inclusive roaming is meant for members who reside and spend most of their time in the UK. If it seems you do not meet this description, you may have inclusive roaming removed.

For more info, see our fair usage guidelines.

  • Pay as you go

If you don't have a goodybag or gigabag, and are roaming within any EU member state or territory, our pay as you go rates for calls and texts to landline and mobile numbers in the UK and to landline and mobile numbers in other countries and territories within the EU are charged at the same rate as calls and texts to UK landline and mobile numbers when those calls are made and those texts are sent within the UK.

  • giffgaff-to-giffgaff calls and texts

giffgaff-to-giffgaff calls are not free to make when you are roaming. In the EU, having a goodybag and calling another giffgaff number will deduct minutes from your allowance like any other standard call. Without a goodybag, the standard pay as you go rates apply.

  • What's not included?

Your goodybag works in the EU like it does in the UK. This means that things not included in your goodybag are charged for at the same rate when roaming, as they are in the UK.

Picture messages (MMS) are charged the same wherever in the world the sending and receiving phones may be: 16p/message to a UK number, 24p/message to a non-UK number.

If you are roaming and call or text another country outside of the EU, this will also be charged for.

  • Why are chargeable calls made while visiting some countries a different price?

There are some destinations that are in the "Roam like Home" zone where we do not charge VAT. Charges applied in these countries, are the standard EU rate but with VAT taken off.

The countries where this applies are: French Guiana, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Martinique, Mayotte, Norway and Reunion.

There are several ways to easily check your balance when abroad:

Note: The vast majority of members won't need to submit any proof of residency. You can check your current eligibility in your account settings, just scroll down to Roaming Status in Phone and call service settings.

To be eligible for the inclusive EU roaming on our goodybags, we need to make sure you are a genuine giffgaff member, and someone who typically lives in the UK, but may take trips to other EU destinations from time to time.

We'll make things easy by looking for some recent UK usage and then turning on the inclusive roaming for you. The vast majority of our members will become eligible without needing to do anything different. However, as an alternative, you can submit various documents as proof of residency.

To do this, you'll need to contact an agent here. They will ask for a few details and will give instructions on how to submit any documents.

We typically require a scanned copy or photo of both your passport or driving license (photo-card version is fine)

  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of residency (dated within last 3 months)

For example: mortgage, bank or building society statement; recent utility bill (gas, water, electric); current council tax bill; house or motor insurance certificate; credit card statement; university acceptance letter.

Once you've got in contact our agents will be able to guide you through everything.

Note: Even after having submitted a document as proof of residency, you’ll still be subject to the same fair usage guidelines. In particular, the inclusive goodybag roaming may be removed if you spend extended periods of time outside the UK, and our agents will not be able to turn this back on for you.

Here we are talking about using your phone when visiting any of the countries that fall outside of the “EU and selected destinations”. Whether you have a goodybag or not, all usage when visiting these countries is charged for, which means you'll need to have some credit in your account.

Please note: giffgaff-to-giffgaff calls are also not free while roaming in the rest of the world, and are charged at the normal roaming rates.

Check out the roaming rates for each country here

How can I limit my roaming charges?

For useful tips on how to save money while roaming, check out this guide.

  • Can't connect to data

If you're having problems connecting to data while abroad, you may need to go in and change a few settings in your device (known as "APN settings").

Note: You need to be using the giffgaff APN: giffgaff.com

If your APN is set to something different, please use the guide here to update your settings.

  • Some services not available

Roaming coverage is dependent on agreements with, and service provided by, other networks around the world. Particularly in more remote locations, we can't always guarantee you'll be able to connect to data, or make and receive calls and texts. If roaming coverage is critical for you when travelling somewhere remote, we recommend having a back-up plan if service isn't available.

If you are still struggling, you can view this guide here

While you're overseas, it doesn't cost anything when someone leaves a voicemail message. It'll only cost if you retrieve it while you're away.

In the EU and selected destination, ringing voicemail will be charged like it is in the UK:

  • With a goodybag – 1 minute deducted per call
  • Without a goodybag – 8p per call

In the rest of the world, you'll be charged the “per minute” rate of the country you are visiting. You may want to disable your voicemail so callers can't leave a message - set a reminder to switch it back on when you get back.

Some people prefer to divert all calls to voicemail - remember to set up your voicemail PIN before you leave, that way when you dial your mobile number you won't have to waste credit listening to set up instructions as you will be charged per minute while roaming.

BlackBerry Messenger and all the other BlackBerry services work when you are using your BlackBerry abroad.

Moreover, BlackBerry Services come with a free daily data allowance of 10MB to use in the European Union. If your daily usage exceeds 10MB, or if you are roaming outside of the European Union zone, roaming charges apply.

Please note: Handsets running BlackBerry 10 do not need the BlackBerry Services so they can't receive this free data allowance - standard roaming rates will apply.

If you have an older BlackBerry then make sure you have BlackBerry Services enabled.

‘Non-terrestrial’ networks are ones that operate in places like aeroplanes, cruise ships and ferries. 

How are they charged?

These non-terrestrial networks are charged like ‘Rest of the World’ roaming: £1/Min to make and receive calls, 30p to send a text, and £5/MB of data. They are not included in our goodybags.

When travelling, you might get close to a national border with a non-EU /ROW countries. Your phone might pick up a network from across the border. If this happens, you’ll be charged from your credit, as if you were roaming in the nearby country. To avoid this, you can set your mobile to manually roam to specific network within the country you are in to avoid the charges. 

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