How to use your phone abroad

How to use your phone on holiday

The world has never been so well connected with almost everyone enjoying access to the internet and social networking on top of phone calling and text messaging.

With this in mind it's no great surprise that when we travel abroad we still wish to have that same level of contact with our friends and family to share those special moments and well, maybe gloat a little too!

Before you travel

To ensure your mobile phone works abroad there are a few things you may need to do. The first is to ring your customer services number and ask for your international bar to be lifted.

All UK mobile phones except those from network EE will have an international bar in place when purchased. The networks do this to help reduce the risks and liabilities should your phone be stolen.

Next you should set up your voicemail. A security code is required to access your voicemail from abroad and you can set it up by following the steps below:

  • EE - Dial 222 and select options 2 then 1
  • O2 - Dial 901 and press* followed by 4
  • Orange - Dial 123 and select option 3
  • T-Mobile - Dial 123 and select options 2 then 1
  • Three - Dial 123 and select options 4 then 2 then 1
  • Vodafone - Dial 121 and select options 4 then 2

Making calls abroad

To call back to the UK from overseas you will need to use the international dialling code +44. The plus symbol can be found on the 0 or # keys on both physical  and virtual mobile phone keypads and you can select the character by either pressing and holding the button or by pressing the button twice in quick succession. 

To access your voicemail from overseas you may also need to dial a different number. These are listed below so it may be worth saving your networks number into your phone book before your travel:

  • EE - Call +44 7953 222 222
  • O2 - Call +44 7802 090 100
  • Orange - Call +44 7973 100 123
  • T-Mobile - Press and hold the 1 key
  • Three - Call +44 7782 333 123
  • Vodafone - Call 121

4G abroad

At the moment you cannot access the internet using 4G when you are abroad. You can however use Wi-Fi or connect to the internet using 2G or 3G. To do the latter you will need to go to your settings, then mobile networks and network mode. From here you can select either 2G or 3G. 

The location of this setting may vary so you may want to find it before you depart in case you need help.

Saving money on calls abroad

Recently mobile phone networks have reduced the charges for making calls abroad but if you plan to make a lot calls then there are cost saving bolt-ons you can request from your network provider. It is also important to remember that you also pay for incoming calls when you are overseas.

Written by: Michael Brown

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