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EE UK Customers Hit by Huge USA Roaming Bills and Suspensions UPDATE

Thursday, February 3rd, 2022 (3:10 pm) - Score 14,448
EE Mobile UK Sim Cards

Some of EE’s UK mobile customers, specifically those who are currently roaming in the USA or Canada, have complained of being hit by massive data (mobile broadband) bills – some rising into the thousands of pounds – and of unexpected account suspensions. This is despite the users having a free roaming add-on enabled.

The situation came to our attention after one of ISPreview.co.uk’s readers, Oliver, informed us that his brother had just been unexpectedly hit with “over £8k of charges for working in New York for 4 days,” which is despite having a roaming add-on for the USA enabled (e.g. the ‘Roam Further Pass‘ / ‘Roam Abroad‘).

After a bit of searching, we soon found that this was not an isolated incident, and a bunch of similar complaints can be found on the EE’s Community Forum. Many of these customers have also had their accounts suspended after running up similarly huge data bills, which should not have happened.

Most of the complaints began to surface yesterday, and the account suspensions have made it difficult for many of those affected to contact the operator.

Sample Complaint 1 by bc43:

“I’m in the USA and have Roam Further Pass but my account has been suspended and I have charges of over £2,000. I can’t even find a way to contact EE.”

Sample Complaint 2 by niy:

“Hi I’ve just had a similar message received about30 minutes ago. I’ve used EE for many years, never had problem with payments, but just had my account suspended. I just checked my usage (v rarely go overly standard charge) & was shocked to see a bill of over £1000. Can’t seem to get in contact with anyone as my account has been suspended.”

Sample Complaint 3 by Dannoh:

“I’m in Canada and purchased a go further add on, which has been working fine until now. I received a text about higher than normal usage and upon checking, my account has been suspended and won’t let me rectify or get in contact with anyone. I’ve paid my bill and have nothing to pay, but still can’t make any call or use my data. I can’t even call EE to get in contact with anyone. I need my phone for business so need help ASAP.”

Sample Complaint 4 by eamonnd95:

“I have had the exact same issue-up until now I have been able to use data in Canada without any extra cost due to add on in my plan, however they have just suspended my account – and I now have no way of getting in contact with them. No option for a live chat on the website.”

The good news is that several of EE’s Community Support agents have today responded to confirm that the operator is aware of the problem: “We are aware of an incident involving roaming data charges for a small number of customers. We are looking into it and trying to find a resolution as soon as possible.” We have also asked EE for a comment and are awaiting their statement.

In the meantime, if anybody is still experiencing this, then we recommend trying to sign-up to their Community Forum and sending a private message to , who may be able to help. Alternatively, customers with access to a VoIP service like Skype via WiFi could try calling +44 8000798586 and selecting ‘Technical Issues’ for help.

UPDATE 4th Feb 2022 (6:48am)

EE has now corrected the problem.

A Spokesperson for EE said:

“We’re very sorry for the problem affecting a small number of customers using their Roam Abroad pass. We have quickly fixed the issue and customers can continue to use their Roam Abroad pass as usual, reassured that no extra charges will show on their bill.”

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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27 Responses
  1. Mike says:

    You’d think they’d have a simple server script that checked for such irregularities…

  2. El Guapo says:

    I can’t wait to leave EE.

    They acknowledge a fault in my area, and refuse to compensate me. So i’m off to the ombudsman. And as for “fastest 4G network” ? bahahahahahaha .. no.

    1. Buggerlugz says:

      You could try Three’s 4G network. Just kidding, don’t. Please don’t.

    2. buggerlogz says:

      There she blows again.

      what an utter bore

    3. spotify95 says:

      I still can’t believe that EE has the check to call it the UK fastest 4G network! Where I live, it has the worst coverage, and the slowest speeds. It’s like EE has gone backwards by 10 years, as I had faster speeds and higher signal strength in the days of 3G!

    4. John says:

      They don’t have a cheek at all.
      They call it the UK’s fastest 4G network because it is.

      Just because your particular area isn’t the fastest doesn’t mean the rest of the UK is the same.

      Coverage and speed varies from mast to mast.

      You can’t expect a company to change their advertising just because bob from somewhereville gets below the UK average.

    5. Jazzy says:

      I left a few months ago where after 15 loyal service they wouldn’t give me a good deal on an iPhone13 – so bought it directly from apple and put a Giffgaff sim card in it, keeping my number

      They also hacked me off in previous years with the RPI increase. I don’t take a £50 contract for it to be £54 a few months later and £60 the year after

    6. spotify95 says:

      “They call it the UK’s fastest 4G network because it is.”

      Err, no it isn’t. I don’t think that giving a small town just 5MHz bandwidth (Band 20) on 4G is acceptable, with a sliver of Band 3 (20MHz) if you’re within 100 metres of the mast.

      There was more speed and higher signal strength in my area when 3G was the main data carrier, and 4G hadn’t became widespread. The internet was faster too, 20Mbps down and 2-3Mbps up on dual carrier 3G.

      “4G” on Band 3 (very weak) is usually less than 15Mbps. Maybe you might get slightly more at about 1am when no-one is using their phones. But most of the time, the internet speed is too slow to be considered usable, and the signal strength is too weak unless you’re on Band 20.

      Three UK are able to give 150Mbps down. Vodafone are able to provide 120Mbps down. O2 are able to provide 90Mbps down. All of which are much stronger signals than EE. So EE are clearly last, in both speed and coverage. Not “the UK’s best network for 4G”.

      EE’s practices today remind me of what O2 and Vodafone used to do before Cornerstone was a thing: blanket cover everywhere with 2G, fill in localized areas with 3G, then call it a day.

  3. Andy says:

    Not the first time this has happened to EE when they first launched i got charged for roaming when on a bundle, they couldn’t fix the billing system, so they let me out of the contract and refunded all call charges…

    Never touched EE since..

    1. dave says:

      When EE launched you could call worldwide including UK premium rate numbers, at the regulated EU roaming rate, which eventually meant free. I’m reliably told it hasn’t worked for a few years now though.

  4. Mark says:

    In fairness to EE, I have never had any problems with them. Any account queries have been addressed quickly, and when I did have a service quality issue, they gave me a complementary month’s refund. And that was a month at full rate, and given that I had a discount of about 60% on the headline rate, they gave me over two months for free…

  5. Nick says:

    It’s a genuine fault and people have been left without service for a day, there’s no such thing as a fault free service and things do tend to go into meltdown sometimes. There is WiFi everywhere and even in places like New York City there are Link kiosks like BT street Hubs for free WiFi, to me it sounds like Social media withdrawal syndrome. There is no way EE is going to pursue bills of £2,000 to £8,000 for a mistake it has already admitted and even if it went to court EE would lose anyway especially because they selected the add on.

    1. AQX says:

      It’s automated. Once the account hits X amount unbilled it’ll suspend automatically.

  6. Me says:

    That’s really really really poor. It should at the least automatically re-direct you to customer services when you try to use the phone if your accounts suspended, as this day and age your mobile might very well be your only phone!
    But billing issues with systems due to flaws isn’t unheard of in the telecoms business, some leading to big fines from the regulators if I recall.

  7. Remoaner says:

    Brexit voters got what they voted for!! Now all of us suffer for more roaming charges to the US!!1

    1. Dave says:

      It is because of Brexit that EE has a fault on their system related to US charges?

      Wow… just wow…

    2. Gribbley says:

      USA is in the EU now is it? I thought remoaners were supposed to be smart and the brexiteers all idiots.

      You proved me wrong.

  8. Richard says:

    You don’t seem to know much Dave. Telecoms systems are extremely complex and their could easily be a relationship between modules that control pricing and function of add-ons like roaming. A system can go wrong for huge range of technical reasons. To say that none of those involve any of the coding relating to roaming in the European Union or roaming elsewhere after Brexit is not realistic.You cannot possibly know that. I would however guess you think Brexit has been a success.

    1. Aled says:

      Richard, I hear your point and I somewhat agree, even if the original fault appears to have nothing to do with Europe.

      More likely IMO, is that EE were planning to change their roaming pricing this month (apparently delayed last minute for a few months). It makes more sense to me that they worked their account roaming/billing algorithms when gearing up for an aborted price rise. It does also appear to be a “first day of the month” glitch, apparently affecting USA, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa at minimum.

      I have to chuckle at the guy in the US who downloaded several movies and faced a £20k bill!!

    2. Me says:

      No that would imply that EE are either incompetent, do not employ the right staff or are incredibly lazy. Or more realistically do not want to spend the money to prepare and change their systems to abide by the Brexit changes.
      Businesses that have proved to be well prepared after Brexit prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. I’m more then sure EE are capable of doing the same and your comment is incorrect to make Brexit the excuse.

  9. Alex says:

    I was one of those people hit with the problem yesterday. The EE App just said I hadn’t paid my last bill, which was obviously not correct. Once I contacted customer services over Twitter this morning, they told me that with my two phones, I accrued a bill of 6K total in just two weeks. As I said, the app didn’t really show what was wrong, but they took it off immediately and it was no issue at all.

  10. jrhop says:

    These people should really set a cap on their accounts!

    1. Darren says:

      We have a £700 cap on our account but still got our service suspended after running up charges of several thousand pounds across 3 devices on a family account.

      It was something to do with getting charged by the kb I think?

      Anyway, we managed to get in touch with EE using our Canadian cell phone and they sorted it out right away, told us we would not be charged, not to worry, temporarily upped our spending cap and our service was restored within minutes.

  11. Belola EL-HACHEMI says:

    Nice of the complainants that EE phone service made multiple electronics errors.
    The telecommunication that relay millions of data dayly is big task at it stand,
    all the operators are relying on the use of the transmitted wires and radio waves, that permits multiples electronics transmitters and receivers to manage and help the comunications worldwide.
    Be happy and thanks your laptop and mobile. You pay for the data used according your contract.
    Edited by :
    Satellites comunications engineer.

  12. Jeff Gilbert says:

    Not fixed. They have increased credit limits to ludicrous amounts. Massive future charges still exist.

  13. Gribbley says:

    Rubbish network. I work in London and there’s no way they’re the fastest. They also don’t care about 5G in places that aren’t giant cities. So glad I moved back to Vodafone. Solid signal, maybe not always 4G but on EE it was either a 4G signal (and rubbish speed) or nothing at all.

    Really super unhelpful customer service too. Apparently getting 0.5mbit is “still a service” according to them. Never going back, ever.

  14. XRaySpeX says:

    > “This is despite the users having a free roaming add-on enabled.”

    FYI of article’s author, Mark Jackson:

    The roaming add-on in question, the Roam Further Pass, is not free but £10 per month to allow roaming in USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand (not South Africa) just like at home. Many users roaming in these 5 non-EU countries have been affected by this glitch.

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