GSM roaming overseas for UK users

I was looking through the GSMWorld website at roaming agreements and decided it would be of interest to take a snap-shot survey as of what countries the four main UK operators offer in terms of roaming. I have not included '3' as it's not really fair at this stage - they have some catching up to do.

This is not a definitive list of what roaming is and isn't available to you. For a definitive answer please check with your mobile phone network provider. The information was taken from GSMWorld website on 23rd April 2005 (updated following my original survey in 2004) but I can't give any assurances on the accuracy/current validity of figures provided to/by this website. The information is likely to have changed since I published this survey. I have based the findings on the information provided from this source.

Three of the UK networks seem to have currently 'exclusive' countries (usually those less visited by people from the UK) that only they of all the UK networks currently have roaming agreements with. For instance if you wish to visit Libya, Panama or New Caledonia (in the Pacific), only Vodafone will work. If you're planning a holiday to Turks and Caicos Islands, only T Mobile will work (you need a special GSM-850 phone). In Nepal, O2 is the only UK network with an agreement.

There are some surprising omissions, Vodafone doesn't have an agreement with Cuba. O2 none with Argentina. Orange doesn't have an agreement with Fiji (as one of my work colleagues recently found out when he went there on business!). T Mobile no agreement with Pakistan. But overall you can see just how many agreements have been made, with so many networks around the world, and presumably as commercial and technical agreements have to be made with each individual network, it's very impressive how many networks UK users have access to. It must be a daunting task going around and signing all these agreements.

According to this information, overall Vodafone have the most roaming agreements in place, followed by T Mobile, followed by O2, then finally Orange. I haven't totalled up every network in every country (I believe Vodafone still easily lead), but here is the result by countries:

1st: Vodafone UK has roaming agreements with networks in approx 168 countries

2nd: T-Mobile UK has roaming agreements with networks in approx 158 countries

3rd: O2 - UK has roaming agreements with networks in approx 144 countries

4th: Orange UK has roaming agreements with networks in approx 140 countries

Click here for a Word document showing for each country which networks provide roaming and for how many of the country's operators.

As stated, I'm relying on the information as posted being correct - for definitve information about roaming with a particular county please don't rely on this website but check with your network operator before travelling.

Last updated: 23rd April 2005.


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