back to article Three: No fixed date yet for 4G services abroad

Three has said it has yet to fix a date for customers to have access to 4G when using its data roaming service. Currently, peeps using the UK mobile operator can only access 2G and 3G networks while on hols. One told The Register the "roam like home service" isn't a "like home" experience. "Or if it is it's a 'like home in …

  1. cs94njw

    Yeah, but doesn't Vodafone disallow roaming like this for existing customers? I thought they needed a new contract?

    1. djstardust

      No, you just contact CS and they upgrade your current one. Nothing new required.

  2. Malcolm Hall

    Slow because of VPN tunnel back to UK

    In my experience speed is capped per user by the VPN tunnel back to the UK anyway, so probably wouldn't make much of a difference enabling 4G. In Australia it was running at about 5KB/s barely useable. Switching to local sim on same operator got the expected speed on 3G of a megabit.

  3. pleb

    "The operator was the first to pre-empt EU regulation with its "Feel at Home" deals, which abolished roaming premiums for Three UK subscribers visiting 19 countries."

    Well, not quite. My recollection is that it was a very literal interpretation of "like at home". So if you phoned for a taxi or hotel or restaurant whilst abroad, you would indeed have been charged just as if you "were at home" - i.e for a call to a foreign country. Sure, you could phone your neighbours or the cat back at home, but other than the data element it really did not amount to much of a deal.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      re @pleb comment

      "The operator was the first to pre-empt EU regulation with its "Feel at Home" deals, which abolished roaming premiums for Three UK subscribers visiting 19 countries."

      Except taht "Feel at Home" was not open to all, if you had an existing subscription it was not added, you had to get a "new" subscription (I have kept my long standing el cheapo SIM only 3 "all you can eat"subscription because to change it to one that supports "Feel at Home" would have increased my monthly payments massively, and since my dual SIM phones are unlocked I can just slap in a "local" SIM in second SIM socket if I go abroad and set that as main SIM temporarily)

    2. cambsukguy

      It was/is a great deal precisely because of the data element.

      And you can call the people you travelled with since they all have phones from 'home' too.

      Whilst I can't be sure, it's been a while since I went, ISTR calling local numbers without cost, car hire places etc.

      Brilliant for driving, full downloaded maps (MS/Here) *and* traffic updates because data.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's good to see those EU regulations working as they should...

    Shame on all these operators.

    A plague on all their CEO's etc... personal mobile data connections.

  5. Richard 51

    Love the way they interpret the meaning to suit themselves

    First I pay a whopping amount of money each month for 4G and upto 2GB of data. So when I am abroad I am not using the network in this country

    Its not as though they have to do anything different to provide it. If they provide their partners with the same service in the UK it nets out to be parity, maybe there is a small difference. But choosing your partner should minimise what that amounts to.

    Calling it "Feels like Home" is a likely to be a breach of the advertising standards, since it does not equate to the service I buy in the UK, in terms of data speed or access to local calls.

    Anybody would think they give the UK service away and we don't pay for it.

  6. JMiles


    Three 'feel at home' was misleading at the very least. They had always capped the speed abroad to worse-than-2G speeds. Finally the EU action has it seems kicked them into behaving

    1. djstardust

      Re: *yawn*

      Yes, but I complained to Offcom about the throttling and they said it wasn't an issue and feel at home wasn't to be taken oterally.

    2. Dazed and Confused

      Re: *yawn*

      On holiday in France a couple of years ago I got perfectly good data on 3 my deal, even managed to do conferencing and sort out a IT snafu for a customer from the top of one of the Alps, try that in the Lake District (which is where I'll be next week). Until recently Portugal was a pain since it wasn't on the free list. But I was still able to tunnel web access from my PC back through my proxy at home OK.

    3. ARGO

      Re: *yawn*

      Never had a problem with it myself; always got at least 1 Mbit throughput when in one of the included countries, and usually more like 10. Which is the same as I see in countries that are still chargeable.

      As I only get 3G at home, in my case the description is accurate. Suspect that's not something for 3 to crow about though!

  7. John Crisp

    02 thieves

    So I'm expected to pay more for 4G in my old home town in the UK when they can barely give you coverage for SMS, and then bar you completely from it when roaming.

    Compared to my village in Spain population 2,700 which has had 4G for nearly 2 years (the rollout was amazingly fast) and for which I had instant access at zero extra cost. Interested to see what I get when I roam my ES mobile next time back.

    02 are a bunch of thieves with the morals of alley cats, and the rest don't seem that far ahead.

    The UK is the land of milk and honey for a lot of profiteers.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: 02 thieves

      The EU 2020 broadband objective funding has been thrown at mobile network operators in Spain whereas in the UK the money's gone on fibre broadband.

      FTTH is cheap to roll out in Spain as most of the population live in flats, so the money's gone on filling the gaps in villages like yours with 4G mobile coverage.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Noticed on a recent trip to Spain how slow and temperamental data on "feel at home" appeared to be.. Even on a purported "3g" data roaming connection it was barely usable, frequently slowing to an almost GPRS type crawl . Three's Spanish roaming partners seem to offer very basic 3g (ie not even HSDPA). Yoigo was the worst - painfully slow and unreliable, Movistar seemed to have better capacity and offer marginally more responsive connection / loading times and something approaching HSDPA in terms on data transfer.. not that bad however if you want to send a few WhatsApps or browse social networking and make the occasional calls but not compatible to speed and reliability of back domestic connection.

  9. Fursty Ferret

    Moved to EE from 3 in June for exactly this reason, with my phone loafing along on the slowest international networks while others had flat-out 4G.

    Not regretted it at all - speed tests give upwards of 150Mbps, and even better, the issue of network saturation in big cities and total failure around the south side of Heathrow has vanished.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Losing it soon anyway

    As soon as we leave the EU, this offer will disappear, why would operators keep it when they don't need to???

    1. paulf
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Losing it soon anyway

      It all depends on what nature "leave" takes when (if?) it happens. If we want to maintain access to the Single Market I imagine keeping regulations like this will be part of the new agreement struck with the EC/EU27.

      There is a chance leave does happen and with us having no deal to keep access to the Single Market. In that case operators probably would be free to do away with these new roaming regulations unless HMG decide they want to keep them in some form. It could happen as we've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal, unless we're talking about Trumpistan where any deal is a good deal.

  11. petergwilliams

    Hasn't happened yet

    I'm in France just now with a not-4G roaming signal partnered through Orange Fr and they definitely have a 4G service available here. I spoke to Three customer service just now and they said they had no plans to offer a 4G signal while roaming.

    Full set of signal bars, but the "R" symbol (for roaming) means I can't work out if I've got 2G or 3G signal. I've read that you can turn that symbol off, but I can't find the setting for that on my Nexus 5.

    Ah, Orange FR are saying they offer a 4G or 2G (but not 3G) signal in my location, so I guess that's what I've got. It's about 0.6Mbps both up and down.

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