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Pay as you go

PAYG sim abroad - no service

3: Seeker

I switched over from pay monthly to PAYG when I moved abroad last year after a Vodafone representative advised me that as long as I had a billable item (sms, call, top up) at least once every 6 months I would be able to keep my number and continue the service. I clarified that I would not be returning to the UK every 6 months and was told that this is fine. The billable items can be from abroad. 

I topped up two weeks ago, my last call made was a month ago and the last sms I sent was also a month ago. It’s been 210+ days since my last visit to the UK and I now do not have any service...during covid! Where I for obvious reasons need to be more connected than ever. I have not been able to receive and OTP/authentication codes that are sent as sms to my mobile (banking, travel booking apps, social media, Vodafone on browser etc). 


I have reached out to Vodafone on messenger and via their chat service over 10 times, with over 10 hours of my time used in trying to resolve this.

One of the representatives said it had been escalated and I asked how I’d hear back and they said they’d give me a call. I had to remind him after an hours chat that the reason I am here is because I have no service and so cannot receive calls. About 30 minutes later he understood and was able to add my email address to the account. I have not heard from Vodafone and it’s been two weeks. 

The representatives more recently over the past few chats told me that customers can no longer use a sim abroad without returning to the UK every 90 days.
This is not what I was told upon the PAYG product being sold to me and neither was my colleague when he also changed his sim to PAYG last weekend.
The representative I spoke to today said it is as per the terms and conditions, I was not notified of this t&c, or notified of a change to the t&c. I asked him to show me where it is on the Vodafone website and he was unable to do so citing maintenance issues, then it not updated yet, then pleading ignorance by saying it is there but him not being able to find it. 


Other things I have also tried multiple times with and without chat representatives: 

- reset network settings

- tried different mobiles

- restarted the mobiles (software and settings, mobile data network all up to date)

- deactivated and reactivated the sim

I have tried to look into services where I can receive texts online, Vodafone offered this service for a while in another country but they do not do that anymore. 

I return to the UK over Christmas (assuming there isn’t a second wave of covid), but need a way to receive my OTP texts. Any ideas?

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Hi @ExpatAbroad, I'm sorry to hear you're having issues with your signal at the moment. We're unable to guarantee a sustained long-term connection outside of the UK as you're no longer connected to our masts or using the Vodafone network. Depending on where you are, you'll be using a preferred network compatible with Vodafone. Some of those networks don't have access to 4G services, other networks you can connect to aren't compatible with Vodafone SIMs which may be an additional cause to your problem. Please contact our customer services team here to investigate this further as we're unable to discuss account specifics over the forum.

From our Acceptable Use Pay as you go policy: "Use of our services which in our Europe Zone (excluding the UK), Roam-free or Roam-further destinations is intended for temporary, periodic travel such as holidays and short breaks." This can be found under Consumer > Mobile > Pay as you go > Acceptable Use Policy.

Due to the length of time it's been since the SIM card has connected to the UK network, I would assume that's more than likely the issue you're having at the moment and that the SIM needs to be reconnected to the UK network for it to work again. 

Our websites FAQs suggests the following on the case:
If you need help getting a data connection or signal whilst abroad, please follow these steps:

  • Check that your Data while abroad bar is turned off in Settings. You can do this in your MyVodafone account by going to Services and Extras > Roaming option > Data while abroad bar
  • If that doesn't work, try to perform a Manual Roam test and a Hard Reset test. See our network select device guide or our phone reset guide if you need help
  • If that doesn't work, please try another network using the network select device guide
  • If that didn’t work, try putting your SIM card into another Vodafone or unlocked phone. If your services now work, put your SIM back into your normal phone and reboot if requested 
  • If that doesn't work, please contact our customer services team

Please let us know how you get on 🙂

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