Roaming with BT Mobile: All You Need to Know

Going on a trip soon? Sounds like a plan! Got everything sorted out already, except for whether you should roam with BT Mobile or not? Can you use BT Mobile in Turkey? What about in the US or Italy? Is roaming with BT Mobile expensive and even worth it? Let’s find out today.

Can I roam with BT Mobile?

BT Mobile customers in 241 destinations around the world. They can Roam Like at Home in 47 destinations where no additional roaming rates apply. Additionally, the Travel Data Pass can be purchased for £6 a day, where you get 500 MB for data roaming in 12 destinations.

No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!

What do I need to know about roaming with BT Mobile?

BT Mobile customers can roam in 241 destinations, where 47 of them are Roam Like at Home destinations where you do not pay any extra for roaming. Lastly, you have the Travel Data Pass. Let’s list all the roaming options below:

  • Roam Like at Home
  • Travel Data Pass
  • Pay As You Go Roaming

Let’s analyze each option in-depth.

BT Mobile Roam Like at Home

As of the 15th of June, 2017, the new European Union (EU) regulation applies. It dictates that when you travel outside your home country (UK) to another EU country, you do not pay additional charges when roaming abroad.

Most providers, like BT Mobile, refer to this as Roam Like Home, or a variation of that, which applies to BT Mobile too – Roam Like at Home.

With Roam Like at Home, you can travel to the other 27 EU nation-states without having to worry about additional roaming charges. However, you can visit a further 20 destinations without extra costs. Some of these places are in mainland Europe, while others are in overseas.

BT Mobile’s Roam Like at Home allows you to use your plan’s allowance while traveling within the EU. If you have 10 GB of domestic data, you can use that allowance in Roam Like at Home destinations as well.

You can use the following services with Roam Like at Home:

  • Data
  • Calls
    • Calls to the UK (mobile and fixed-line numbers)
    • Calls within the same Roam Like at Home destination (mobile and fixed-line numbers)
    • Calls to another Roam Like at Home destination (mobile and fixed-line numbers)
    • Calls to Customer Care
    • Calls to numbers starting with 0800, 0808 & 0500
    • Receiving calls
    • Voicemail
  • Texts
    • Texts to the UK
    • Texts within the same Roam Like at Home destination
    • Texts to another Roam Like at Home destination

Roam Like at Home, however, does not allow you to:

  • Make calls to service numbers (starting with 084, 087 & 118)
  • Calls and texts to non-Roam Like at Home destinations

There is a data cap for data roaming in Roam Like at Home destinations. If you have a plan that gives you more than 20GB a month, then you may only use 15GB abroad (within the same billing cycle). Else, BT Mobile may apply a surcharge.

UPDATE January 2020: As the UK left the EU on the 31st of January, some have asked what will happen to Roam Like at Home. A BT Mobile spokesperson said the following to Trusted Reviews:

Our customers enjoy inclusive roaming in Europe and we have no plans to change this based on Brexit.

BT Mobile spokesperson, January 2020

Where can I use BT Mobile’s Roam Like at Home?

You can use Roam Like at Home in the following destinations:

Roam Like at Home Zone 1a

Zone 1 has 30 destinations:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus*
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal**
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Vatican City

* Note that when in Northern Cyprus, you may connect to a Turkish network. Turkey is not a Roam Like at Home destination, so you will be charged on standard roaming rates
** Includes Azores & Madeira

Roam Like at Home Zone 1b

Zone 1b has 16 destinations:

  • Canary Islands
  • French Guiana
  • Gibraltar
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guernsey
  • Iceland
  • Jersey
  • Liechtenstein
  • Martinique
  • Mayotte
  • Norway
  • Reunion
  • Saint Barthélemy
  • Saint Martin
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland

Tip: Looking for cheap flights? Book with AirWander and add stopovers! Not in a hurry yet? Set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog and get notified when ticket prices for your preferred route(s) drop!

Moutains in Switzerland

Why does Roam Like at Home have two zones?

The two zones are relevant in case you go over your allowance. You will be charged extra, and the pricing differs depending on the zone. Below are the surcharges:

Zone 1a Zone 1b
Calls 35p/min* 29.1p/min*
Texts 12p/message 10p/message
Data 10p/MB 8.3p/MB

There is a 30-second minimum call charge. After that, you will be charged per second.

BT Mobile Travel Data Pass

The Travel Data Pass gets you 500MB of roaming data for £6 a day in 12 destinations. Once enabled, it will automatically renew every 24 hours for as long you are in a Travel Data Pass destination. It will turn itself off if you stop data roaming or leave the destination.

You can use the Travel Data Pass in the following 12 places:

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • China
  • India
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • United States (USA)

You can get the Travel Data Pass by visiting My Mobile.

Looking for an international sim instead? Check out my comparison post where I analyse the offering of 10+ international sims.

BT Pay As You Go Roaming

If you are in a place where Roam Like at Home does not apply or is not covered by the Travel Data Pass, you can roam on standard roaming rates. The Pay As You Go roaming rates are grouped into 8 zones and are shown below.

Notes:

1. Calls refers to calls made within Zone and from Zone to UK mobile and standard landline numbers
2. Calls ROW stands for Calls made from Zone to the Rest of the World
3. Inc. Call in Zone refers to Calls received in Zone
4. Text to Zone & UK refers to texts sent within Zone and from Zone to UK mobile and standard landline numbers
5. Text ROW stands for texts sent from Zone to the Rest of the World
6. All prices are in pence
7. The charges show for Zone 1a & 1b only apply when the action is excluded from the usage allowance for your plan. In most cases, these rates do not have to be paid (Roam Like at Home)
8. Retrieving voicemail within a roaming zone is charged as the prices listed under Calls (excluding Zones 1a & 1b). There is no extra charge for receiving voicemail when roaming
9. MMS costs 40p when roaming
10. Receiving SMS is free
11. The table is best viewed in landscape mode or desktop view (when on mobile)

CallsCall ROWInc. Call in ZoneText to Zone & UKText ROWData
Zone 1a4.31400130
Zone 1b3.61400130
Zone 31401401254040500
Zone 4170170804040500
Zone 51401401304040500
Zone 61651651304040500
Zone 71701701304040500
Zone 81651651504040500

Now that we have the prices out of the way, let’s see where we can roam.

Roaming Zone 1a destinations

The following 33 destinations fall under Zone 1a rates:

  • Austria
  • Azores
  • Balearic Islands
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Vatican City
What are the zone 1a rates again?
CallsCall ROWInc. Call in ZoneText to UKText ROWData
Zone 1a4.31400130

Roaming Zone 1b destinations

The following 16 destinations fall under Zone 1b rates:

  • Canary Islands
  • French Guiana
  • Gibraltar
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guernsey
  • Iceland
  • Jersey
  • Liechtenstein
  • Martinique
  • Mayotte
  • Norway
  • Reunion
  • Saint Barthélemy
  • Saint Martin
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
What are the zone 1b rates again?
CallsCall ROWInc. Call in ZoneText to UKText ROWData
Zone 1b3.61400130

Roaming Zone 3 destinations

The following 9 destinations fall under Zone 3 rates:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Turkey
  • United States
What are the zone 3 rates again?
CallsCall ROWInc. Call in ZoneText to UKText ROWData
Zone 31401401254040500

Roaming Zone 4 destinations

The following 26 destinations fall under Zone 4 rates:

  • Albania
  • Bermuda
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Burkina Faso
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Albania
  • Bermuda
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Burkina Faso
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Pakistan
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Togo
  • Uruguay
What are the zone 4 rates again?
CallsCall ROWInc. Call in ZoneText to UKText ROWData
Zone 4170170804040500
Lake in Guatemala

Roaming Zone 5 destinations

The following 30 destinations fall under Zone 5 rates:

  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Botswana
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Faroe Islands
  • Gabon
  • Guinea
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Montserrat
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • Peru
  • Saudi Arabia (KSA)
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
What are the zone 5 rates again?
CallsCall ROWInc. Call in ZoneText to UKText ROWData
Zone 51401401304040500

Roaming Zone 6 destinations

The following 12 destinations fall under Zone 6 rates:

  • Brazil
  • Egypt
  • Guyana
  • Kuwait
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands Antilles
  • North Macedonia
  • Russia
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Ukraine
What are the zone 6 rates again?
CallsCall ROWInc. Call in ZoneText to UKText ROWData
Zone 61651651304040500

Roaming Zone 7 destinations

The following 104 destinations fall under Zone 7 rates:

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Ascension
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile
  • Christmas Islands
  • Cocos Islands
  • Comoros
  • Cook Islands
  • Costa Rica
  • Diego Garcia
  • Dominica
  • El Salvador
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • French Polynesia
  • Gambia
  • Grenada
  • Guam
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kiribati
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Macau (Macao)
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Micronesia
  • Midway Islands
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • New Caledonia
  • Niue
  • Norfolk Island
  • North Korea
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Oman
  • Palestine
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Philippines
  • Puerto Rico
  • Qatar
  • Rodriguez Island
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint Kitts & Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Pierre & Miquelon
  • Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • Sao Tome & Principe
  • Seychelles Islands
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Korea
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Turks & Caicos Islands
  • Tuvalu
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Wake Island
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Set up FREE flight alerts and get notified when ticket prices drop via Airfarewatchdog!

What are the zone 7 rates again?
CallsCall ROWInc. Call in ZoneText to UKText ROWData
Zone 71701701304040500

Roaming Zone 8 destinations

The following 11 destinations fall under Zone 8 rates:

  • Cape Verde
  • Congo
  • Cuba
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Falkland Islands
  • Laos
  • Maldives
  • Palau
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekiistan
What are the zone 8 rates again?
CallsCall ROWInc. Call in ZoneText to UKText ROWData
Zone 81651651504040500
Beach at the Maldives

Interested in a local sim? Find your options today!

Can I roam on planes with BT Mobile?

Inflight roaming is possible with BT Mobile. You can roam on planes that have AeroMobile or OnAir roaming facilities on them.

Inflight roaming is charged at Zone 9 rates, which are listed below:

  • £5.40 per minute for all type of outgoing calls
  • £2.80 per minute for receiving calls
  • £0.87 per text for all type of outgoing SMS
  • £9.20 per MB
  • Receiving SMS is free.

Can I roam on cruise ships with BT Mobile?

Maritime roaming is possible with BT Mobile. If your cruise ship or ferry has MCP, Seanet Maritime Communications, or Thuraya roaming facilities on them, then you can roam.

Maritime roaming is charged at Zone 9 rates, which are listed below:

  • £5.40 per minute for all type of outgoing calls
  • £2.80 per minute for receiving calls
  • £0.87 per text for all type of outgoing SMS
  • £9.20 per MB
  • Receiving SMS is free.

Is roaming with BT Mobile worth it?

BT Mobile will not charge you extra for roaming in EU nation-states, meaning that roaming in those destinations is always worth it. Just make sure you go not go over your allowance. Otherwise, you will have to pay a surcharge.

The Travel Data Passes seem like a good deal to me. For £6, you get 500MB that can be used in Andorra, Australia, Canada, China, India, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. It would be nice if they would expand the places you can use the pass in the future, but those are sound destinations.

It would have been great if the pass was not limited to data roaming alone. Some minutes and texts would have been excellent. Something BT Mobile can think about, I would say.

I do, however, recommend to take caution with using the Travel Data Pass. £6 a day may not sound like a lot. However, staying in Canada for a week, for example, would cost you £42 for that week alone. You can undoubtedly get a local sim for much cheaper that will give you data, minutes, and texts. You could also consider an international sim if you are willing to spend that much.

Unfortunately, the Travel Data Pass does not offer data rollover, meaning that if you have spare data left from the previous day, those will just vanish – a shame.

Therefore, I would not recommend using the Travel Data Pass for more than 4 or 5 days, as you will be cheaper off with a local sim.

Dirham, Moroccan currency

I usually tend to avoid roaming on Pay As You Go Roaming rates, as they are often pricy and add-up quickly.  BT Mobile uses 9 roaming zones (including inflight and maritime roaming), which, together with a non-British provider, tops the list with most roaming zones I have seen so far. As a result, it can be a challenge to keep track of what destination is part of what zone.

For example, data roaming is priced at £5/MB, which is just too high. An international sim may be a better option instead.

Then we have roaming on planes and cruise ships. I would never recommend to maritime roam or use inflight roaming services because the prices are almost always insanely high. 

In most cases, airlines that offer inflight roaming offer inflight WIFI as well, which is much cheaper than inflight roaming (not but necessarily cheap – consider the price and the allowance you get). The same counts for cruise ships – some may offer free WIFI. Why pay for a connection when you can get one for free?

In short, roaming with BT Mobile should be done in moderation. Avoid roaming on standard roaming rates and do not use the Travel Data Pass for more than 5 days. A local sim will be much cheaper in that case.

What is next?

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

Book Your Flight

It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices for your preferred destination drops.

Book Your Accommodation

I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a hotel.

Get Your Travel Insurance

You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.

Get a Travel Debit Card

Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to the currency of your destination for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.

Enjoy your trip!


Sources:

https://www.bt.com/mobile/data-roaming/
https://img01.products.bt.co.uk/content/dam/bt/storefront/pdfs/BT_PhoneTariff_Residential.pdf (This link may prompt you to download a PDF depending on your browser settings)

Disclaimer: Information and prices are current as at the date of publication and are subject to change. Please refer to our Terms & Conditions for our Content Disclaimer.

Ernest Adu

Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 6 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region in Asia, in particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan, and plans on exploring Oceania and more of East and Southeast Asia.

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