Husband's 3 PAYG Sim was disabled with a few hours notice a few weeks ago, and I hadn't been aware of the risk, as when Feel at Home came in it wasn't in the T&C which I read carefully - this expat ban was added without informing customers a few months ago. I asked for clarification as to what the time limit was, and then spouse rang and asked as well, and I looked it all up and enquired online. We got several different and contradictory answers. It looks as if you can only use the SIM in France if you don't exceed two entire months in any rolling 12 month period. So if you took the phone to France half way through January and went to the UK before the end of March, February would be your first month. Some Three customer services people will tell you that's not what it means, and a two month period in France will lead to you being cut off, but that wasn't the case with us. Suffice to say the staff aren't clear about the rules, so how the customer is expected to understand it is beyond me.
To disable the card completely seems most unreasonable, but that's what they do. Your phone will start working again as soon as you enter the UK, as ours did. We obtained a free 3 PAYG sim and put that in the other slot on the phone, and I set it up to use the new one when the old one is out of service. Sadly call forwarding wouldn't work, so anyone who would have rung it will not be answered on the new sim.
So now we are being cautious with my own phone's 3 contract SIM, and turning off the phone and removing the sim for a few days each month rather than lose my all-I-can-eat data for £13 a month which wouldn't be available to me on a new contract. We also have a spare phone with an O2 PAYG card, and a French SFR sim in a fourth mobile, although I have never received details or been able to find what allowance I get, if any for my 1.50€ a month for that.
How do all the kids manage to understand this system?