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Roaming in the UK: Rates and how to avoid it

Traveling to the UK and not knowing if the roaming UK service is the best? Learn everything you need about the service here!

Julio Osuna

July 9, 2024

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Do you plan to visit the UK soon? If the answer is yes, then chances are you are thinking about using international roaming to stay connected! But is it the best option for travelers?

If you are wondering whether to use data roaming in the UK or another service, we have information that will help you choose. Whether you need to know about roaming charges, what alternatives are cheaper, which allows you to use more data, or much more, we have your back covered!

eSIM for the United Kingdom

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What is a roaming service?

International roaming is one of the main options to get internet when traveling. While free roaming is not common, people need to know how much it costs and how to get it when traveling.

But what makes this an attractive option when traveling? Well, aside from the data roaming, it also gives access to text messages and phone calls, depending on the service provider or international roaming pack someone chooses.

roaming in the uk
Street with UK flags. Source: Pexels.

One thing to know related to international roaming is how much it costs. Depending on which service people are using, chances are these cost around $1 to $15 either per MB or for a day of usage. 

So, let’s talk about international roaming and the alternatives people have.

>Travel to the UK from Canada and stay connected!<

Comparison of roaming rates in the UK

For everyone wondering how much roaming costs, here’s a list of the available alternatives. There will be different mobile operators and how much they cost. So, if you intend to travel to the UK and want more roaming information, here it is!

Cellular provider – RateCost (in US dollars/MB)
Holafly eSIM cardPlans start at $6
Rogers$15/10MB or $15 with Roam Like Home

People have the chance to use the option they prefer. These are worth knowing for people who aren’t based in the UK, so let’s discuss the details each one offers regarding international roaming.

Roaming in the UK by Mobile Provider

Even though there’s some information about the prices, it is necessary for people to know more about the details these companies offer. Let’s take a look at each one of the options available for travelers.

Roaming in the UK with AT&T

AT&T offers different roaming options, but let’s focus on the pay-as-you-go rates that are most common among users looking for data roaming. Let’s see what the company offers.

  • Calls: $3 per minute.
  • Send texts: $0.50/message
  • Send pictures and videos: $1.30/message
  • Internet: $2.05
  • International Travel Pass: $12/day.
att roaming
AT&T roaming. Source: AT&T

How to activate AT&T roaming in the UK

Activating the roaming service of AT&T is not complicated at all. There are two options for users to activate it, and both of them are fairly effortless. First, there’s an option of using the International Customer Service from AT&T, or users can make a phone call directly to 611 to activate it by themselves. 

Also, it is necessary for people to activate the roaming option on their cellular data menu before actually enjoying the service!

Buy your virtual chip or Holafly eSIM UK and enjoy your data.

Roaming in the UK with T-Mobile

Another option is T-Mobile. They offer roaming services in 215 different countries. People can choose from different data plans, but they must be either the MAX or Magenta plans!

  • Calls: $0.25/min.
  • SMS: $0.50 per text.
  • Internet: $60-85/data plan.
t mobile roaming
T-Mobile roaming information. Source: T-Mobile.

How to activate T-Mobile roaming in the UK

To use the T-Mobile roaming service, there are two steps. To activate the service, people need to dial #RON# on their phone or device and go through the options to enable roaming. Once this is done, they need to activate the roaming option in their phone settings as well.

Roaming in the UK with Verizon

Compared to the rest of the alternatives here, Verizon actually keeps everything simple with their mobile roaming. Let’s see what they offer:

  • Calls: $1.79/minute
  • SMS: $0.50.
  • Internet: $2.05/MB.
  • International pass: $10/day, with unlimited calls and text messages.
verizon roaming prices
Verizon roaming information. Source: Verizon.

How to activate Verizon roaming in the UK

Verizon also simplifies the activation process. To achieve this, customers need to activate the “Roaming” option on the “Mobile/Cellular Data” menu. Verizon users can also do this through the Verizon official website. 

You may be interested in the Swiss eSIM alternative that Holafly has. For this and more than thirty destinations in Europe, you will find a data package for your trip that costs less than mobile roaming.

Roaming in the UK with Rogers

Lastly, there’s Rogers SIM and eSIM Canada on the list of data roaming options available for travelers and users to use. Compared to the rest of the alternatives, this one happens to be the most expensive option on the list.

  • Call: $3 per minute
  • Text: $0.75 per text
  • Data: $15 per 10 MB or $15 per day with “Roam Like Home.”
rogers roaming price
Rogers roaming information. Source: Rogers.

How to activate Rogers roaming in the UK.

Rogers keeps things simple when activating the roaming service. Users only need to activate the “Roaming” option on their device. Once this is done, they are ready to enjoy the benefits!

Alternatives to roaming in the UK

Now that that’s settled and clear information about the UK roaming service has been provided. Why don’t we discuss the alternatives that are available for people in the market? There are different options for people to use, and some of them are even cheaper compared to the roaming charges.

What improves it is that people can actually choose the alternative they prefer, especially the one that suits their needs better. Let’s elaborate on the alternatives to roaming in the UK there are!

eSIM for the UK

holafly esim customization uk
eSIM with unlimited data in the United Kingdom. Source: Holafly.

This is one of the best eSIMs for traveling to the UK right now, especially when it comes to using a UK eSIM from Holafly, because of everything it offers, along with its additional perks and benefits without the roaming charges and connecting to the best network in the country.

Those interested can buy one, no matter where they are, and that’s what improves it, given that there’s no wait time and the website is user-friendly. eSIMs can also be purchased for specific destinations, and the UK is undoubtedly part of that list. So, the only thing to remember is to have a device compatible with eSIMs!

There are no data plans for the UK, but instead, people can buy an eSIM for the exact number of days they need and get unlimited data usage. So, if you plan to travel to the UK for 1 to 90 days, the Holafly eSIM for the UK is your go-to option. Prices range from $6 to $139, making it accessible for travelers. All plans include unlimited data, and you can enjoy hotspots of up to 500 MB daily.

Another advantage of Holafly’s online store is that it offers regional solutions with coverage in multiple countries. These data packages, such as eSIM card Europe, are ideal for tourists who intend to tour more than one country. You will have coverage every time you cross a border without changing your service.

Prepaid SIM card

Prepaid SIM cards have also become a consumer trend. Even though they are slowly losing market share to eSIMs, people with older devices will undoubtedly take advantage of this alternative to avoid international roaming services.

People can either try to get these before traveling, or they can try to get one from local cellular operators, but this option is surely harder than how it sounds. Even considering looking for a prepaid SIM card in the capital city of London can be daunting for tourists, even with companies such as Vodafone, EE, Three, Lyca Mobile, Giffgaff, and more available.

Free WiFi in the UK

What’s good about the UK is how its extensive free WiFi network. A place that receives many tourists per year needs to be prepared to help those who want to stay connected and online, offering a better connectivity and travel experience that allows them to use a phone abroad. 

But there’s something people need to remember when using this. Free WiFi hotspots aren’t always available, and they aren’t as safe as other alternatives. If you do eventually end up having to connect to a free WiFi network, do not provide or enter any sensitive or personal information online, and use only as needed. Do not remain connected for long periods of time.

Still, for those who want to spend less money when traveling, using a WiFi finder app will surely help in this case.

Free WiFi in the UK: Alternatives

As there are so many places where people can use a free WiFi connection when visiting the UK, there’s no doubt travelers need to have an idea of what to do to remain connected when traveling there.

To make things easier for people traveling, there are apps like WinMap or WiFi that are very useful! Keep that in mind and, if possible, download them before traveling to ensure you have the proper tools when you arrive in the UK.

Pocket WiFi in the UK

Another alternative that must be mentioned, separated from the rest, is pocket WiFi devices. These are relatively easy to use, and everyone can rent them without many requirements. The downside here is how expensive they can be.

The good news here is these can be shipped to almost anywhere in the world and it works in more than 100 countries as well!

Pocket WiFi in the UK: Alternatives

Let’s give a brief look at some alternatives for people to use when it comes to pocket WiFi devices.

  • Cello Mobile: Perfect for the United States, Canada, or Mexico travelers. It costs $349.99 for a week of consumption, and there are additional fees for things such as delivery and insurance before renting one. They also offer worldwide delivery, which allows users from other countries to use their devices.
  • Travelers WiFi: Travelers WiFi is one of the oldest alternatives available to use in the world. With a weekly rate of $78.80, it is, surprisingly, one of the cheapest alternatives in the market. They offer worldwide delivery and some extra accessories for their devices. Additionally, it’s important to consider a loss/theft/damage insurance policy.

Comparison of alternatives to roaming in the UK

Let’s see the price comparison for the different alternatives mentioned here to see which one is the best for travelers and the best for you!

FeatureseSIMRoamingPocket WiFi
Price$6 for one day$2.05 up to $15 per MB+$120
DataUnlimited Data1GB per day
Free shippingYesNo
Added costsNoYesYes
Can you share the internet with other devices?YesNoYes
Fee in case of loss?NoNoYes
User friendly?YesNoNo

Verdict: the best alternative to roaming in the UK

Now that we’ve clarified the different options available, it’s time to tell you which is the proper alternative for traveling to the UK. Of course, it is fair to say the roaming UK service is not on the list due to how expensive it can be. On the other hand, the best alternative is the Holafly eSIM UK!

Holafly eSIM home
Holafly home website.

Due to the eSIM purchasing process, we can say that you will have no trouble getting an eSIM online. The best part is that once your payment is confirmed, you’ll receive the eSIM in no time! Don’t worry about how you’re going to get your eSIM. Just check the email you previously provided and look for the QR code. It’s easy to avoid roaming plans!

Even though some people might think it is better to try a different service, there is no doubt that those using, for example, pocket WiFi will need to be more careful with it. Free WiFi is not always reliable, so that’s a downside. That’s why, for us, the Holafly eSIM is the best choice for travelers to avoid roaming charges!

Tips for roaming in the UK

  • Before traveling, try to avoid using your roaming cellular data. This is only if you decide to use roaming services when traveling because, as soon as they are activated, they will start charging depending on your consumption rate or data allowance, depending on your plan.
  • Beware of the data you use. It doesn’t actually matter the alternative you decide to use, either way. Those who want to save money should be careful with how much cellular data they use to avoid extra charges and fees.
  • In some cases, travelers can get data plans. Cellular carriers often offer these, so before traveling, check if any are available to save some money.
  • Before traveling, check that your smartphone works in the UK. The same applies to other places. The device may not work due to the domestic cellular network frequency bands or voltage, so keep that in mind.
  • Even though it is not recommended to rely fully on free WiFi networks, people can still use them in some cases to save some data for certain things, like going on Instagram or something similar.

Up to this point, we have discussed everything you need to enjoy your visit to the UK. We even mentioned the best alternative for anyone to use, so we hope you enjoy your trip there!


Does the UK still have free roaming?

Yes. But this is only available for certain European carriers, so remember to check whether you have to pay for the service or not.

Do you pay roaming charges in the UK?

Yes. Most carriers, especially those in North America or Australia, have high roaming fees for travelers.