Vodafone UK has extended LTE roaming to 23 destinations worldwide, after the operator added 19 new destinations to the existing locations of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
The move means that the operator now offers 4G roaming in more countries than rival EE, which in August said its customers could get LTE speeds in 16 countries. However, EE also noted that further roaming destinations would be added during 2014.
Vodafone UK's roaming service also covers more countries than Three UK's Feel At Home plan, which offers the benefit of being able to use an existing domestic plan abroad with no extra charges in 16 countries. However, Three UK does not yet offer LTE roaming, saying it has so far focused on developing a roaming service that incurs no extra costs for the user. O2 UK also does not yet support LTE roaming.
Vodafone noted that its pay monthly customers can also take their UK minutes, texts and data to other destinations, but for an extra fee. For example, the operator's EuroTraveller option costs an extra £3 (€3.80/$4.80) per day, while WorldTraveller costs £5 a day.
The ability to use UK plans abroad will certainly help avoid issues such as bill shock, which is one major reason why so many people still turn off data roaming when abroad. Vodafone added that users not covered by EuroTraveller or WorldTraveller will be assigned automatic spending caps, and will be informed by text when they are nearing the spending limits.
"Our customers now have 4G in more countries than ever before as a result of Vodafone's significant global presence. We are really excited to be able to offer our thousands of customers travelling around the world, whether on business or for fun, an even better 4G experience," said Cindy Rose, Vodafone UK's head of consumer.
Under the EE plans, customers can only use data on their mobile phone when abroad if they purchase a bundle, such as £3 for 50 MB or £25 for 500 MB within the European Union. Customers on EE small business plans can also buy 2 GB of EU roaming data for £75.
Citing figures from the Office of National Statistics, Vodafone UK noted that UK travellers made around 42 million visits last year to countries now covered by its roaming arrangements.
Vodafone now offers LTE roaming in the following destinations: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and U.S.
- see this Vodafone UK release
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