Keep data costs down abroad

How your phone uses data when you're abroad

When you’re travelling abroad, your phone can use data as well as make calls and send texts.

It's much harder to know when your phone's using data. Although it's easy to know you're using data when you access the internet, data also gets used when your apps or software automatically run updates, or your email syncs to your phone.

Because your phone can use data without you realising, it can be easy to rack up big data bills. Take a look at the sections below to find out ways you can help avoid this.

Switch off mobile data when abroad

Even if you stop using the apps on your phone that use data, your phone can still run up data charges when you’re abroad, for example when apps or software update automatically.

If you’re worrying about spending too much on data whilst you're abroad, you can temporarily turn off your mobile data. Please note that when mobile data is switched off, you won’t be able to use any apps that use data, such as email, Facebook or browsing the internet.


To turn off data on your iPhone, you need to disable Cellular Data. From your Home screen, tap Settings. Then tap Cellular. Finally, tap the small green switch-bar next to Cellular Data. For help, visit Apple’s Cellular Data support section.

Android Phones

To turn off mobile data on your Android phone, from the Homescreen, go to Settings. Tap Data Usage. Then switch off Mobile Data.

Windows Phones

To turn off mobile data on your Windows phone, slide your finger left over the Homescreen and tap Settings. Then tap Mobile Network. Tap the box below Data Connection. Then tap On or Off.

The European Union data limit

To help you avoid big data bills when abroad, we automatically opt you in to the free EU data limit service. This is a bill-capping service which switches off your data roaming once you hit the EU Limit, which is set at 50 Euros – about £41.

We’ll notify you when you’re nearing the limit, and we’ll also let you know when you’ve reached the cap limit and can no longer use data.

You can always opt out of the EU data limit service by contacting us by phone or online with Webchat.

Check data costs in the country you're going to

Find out which data zone the country you're visiting is in.