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Vodafone UK SIM card - post Brexit pricing and complications

Brexit has caught up with the Vodafone UK SIM card, which I detailed 2.5 years ago in this post. While it is still a good option for UK travelers, the value proposition will become more complicated (that is to say, more expensive) beginning June 8, 2022 for travelers outside the UK.

Whereas previously a Vodafone Big Value Bundle included roaming in much of Europe, to roam in their Zone B (49 countries in Europe) you must now also purchase their "European Roaming passes, available as £8 for 8 days or £15 for 15 days."

CORRECTION: the £8 for 8 days or £15 for 15 days pricing may be for monthly subscribers. The Vodafone Extras page shows Pay as You Go pricing as £15 for 8 days or £25 for 15 days, covering 73 countries in their Zone D. I haven't found a cheaper PAYG option for their 49 Zone B European destinations.

For those who already own the Vodafone UK SIM, here is what I've worked out:

For a 1 or 2 week trip, you could buy their smallest Big Value Bundle (currently £10, with 7GB data, unlimited phone minutes and text) plus the new 8 day or 15 day European Roaming pass.

At £18 (Big Value Bundle + 8 day pass) or £25 (Big Value Bundle + 15 day pass) this is still significantly cheaper than my Verizon International plan options for the same length trip, assuming daily usage at $10 / day.

For a 3 week trip, you'd need to buy a Bundle, plus an 8-day and a 15-day pass, total £33.
For a 4 week trip, you'd need to buy a Bundle, plus two 15-day passes, total £40.

Since I already own the Vodafone UK SIM and have it set up, it's still probably good value for my trip to Portugal in July (I just missed that June 8th timeframe) though I may consider alternatives for later trips. For travelers outside the UK who are considering a Europe SIM for the first time, other options are likely to be less complicated and cheaper.

Posted by
4283 posts

Yes, I wondered about this. I came across that yesterday when I was researching a plan that would work for summer in the U.K. and fall in Poland. Glad to know I was reading that correctly, even if it’s not news I wanted.

Posted by
4819 posts

Well, and it may be worse than even what I quoted above. As I research further, the £8 for 8 days or £15 for 15 days pricing may be for those on monthly subscription plans. For Pay as You Go Customers, it may be £15 for 8 days or £25 for 15 days. That covers 73 countries (their Zone D.) I'm hoping I might have overlooked a less expensive option that covers their Zone B, 49 European destinations.

Posted by
4819 posts

It is being positioned in the media (that I've read) as a post-Brexit change:,at%20the%20end%20of%20January.

"The phone network [Vodafone UK] had planned to bring in post-Brexit roaming fees on 6 January, matching other networks that plan to do so in 2022. [....] Before the UK left the EU, users were able to use their calls, texts, and data allowance in their mobile plans in any EU country. But the EU trade deal of December 2020 gave mobile operators the option of reintroducing charges."

Vodafone simply says "We've split the world into a number of European and worldwide destination zones."

A Guardian article from August of last year states:
"Since 2017, mobile networks in EU countries have been banned from charging customers extra to use their phones in other member countries.

"Legislation scrapping roaming charges within the single market was introduced after multiple cases of so-called “bill shock”, in which holidaymakers returned home from foreign breaks to be presented with bills of thousands of pounds for using their phones while abroad.

"However, the Brexit trade deal between the UK and EU signed in December did not include continued protection against roaming charges. In January, the UK’s biggest operators – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – all said they had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges even though they could do so."

Beyond my cursory review of a few articles, and as I am no expert on Brexit, I will focus on the impact to those travelers who have purchased (or are considered purchasing) a Vodafone UK SIM, as I had originally posted a topic on its merits.

Posted by
4819 posts

Thank you ramblin' on, that is a useful summary indeed and I appreciate the link.