Three has abolished international roaming charges for customers travelling to the Republic of Ireland, Australia, Italy, Austria, Hong Kong, Sweden and Denmark.

The ‘Feel at Home’ scheme, launched on Friday, makes Three the first UK network to completely dump roaming charges, albeit in countries where parent company Hutchison Whampoa operates mobile networks under the Three brand. 

Three said in a statement that its customers will be able to use call minutes, send texts and consume data when they are abroad at no extra cost. The operator said the service will automatically activate as soon as a phone enters any of the selected countries and connects to any local mobile network.

Three marketing director Thomas Malleschitz said: “By abolishing expensive roaming charges in select countries we are allowing our customers to get even more value for their minutes, texts and data abroad by removing the fear associated with staying in touch while travelling.”

The EU has recently been clamping down on roaming charges but the Three offer comes as European authorities express uncertainty over plans to introduce further cuts.

EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes previously proposed a cap of 3 cents per minute for voice calls (currently capped at 10 cents) and 1.5 cents per megabyte of data (currently capped at 15 cents) within the European Union but according to Reuters there was no mention of these caps in a recent draft proposal for the future of European telecoms.