How to listen to TMS abroad
If, like me, you’re not in the UK but still want to listen to TMS then you’re going to need a VPN. Here we show you how to listen to TMS abroad and how to buy a VPN that works with BBC iPlayer Radio.
See also: Which VPNs still work with BBC iPlayer?
How to listen to TMS abroad? (Updated July 2018)
This article is here to help those of us who are not in Blighty for the Test, but still want to follow the action by listening to TMS.
Until recently, all you needed was a cheap VPN and an internet connection to watch iPlayer and/or listen to its radio stations while overseas. Even Aggers himself tweeted out a link to TunnelBear to help those stranded overseas tune into Test Match Special. However, times have changed and the Beeb has got stricter with people using VPNs to access its content.
But, fear not. Below we’ll guide you through the steps you need to follow in order to listen to TMS (while you’re abroad) again.
Note, the method we describe below will let you watch UK TV when you’re abroad too. See How to watch England Cricket live online for more information.
How to listen to TMS abroad?
Until late last year. Any VPN that provided access to a UK server was good enough to stream BBC iPlayer content. Sadly, those days are over. Now you need to buy a VPN that stays one step ahead of the BBC.
How to listen to TMS Abroad: Method 1
The BBC has a technical team working on ways to blacklist every shared-VPN server from accessing iPlayer. Good VPNs like NordVPN and ExpressVPN employ their own full-time technical teams. Their job is to constantly monitor the connections with iPlayer and if there’s a problem they create workarounds ASAP.
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN provide working connections with iPlayer most of the time. However, occasionally, their servers will get blacklisted en masse by the Beeb. And it can take anywhere between an hour and a couple of days for the technical teams to implement a fix.
I’ve been using NordVPN (£2.32/month) to watch and listen to BBC iPlayer since March and have experienced no problems.
This is why we recommend going with the NordVPN + dedicated IP option.
- Buy NordVPN (£2.32/month) or ExpressVPN (£3.76/month)
- Download and install the app on your Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS device
- Connect to a server in the UK
- Open BBC iPlayer Radio and steam TMS on BBC 5Live Sports Extra
How to listen to TMS Abroad: Method 2
The absolute best way to listen to TMS (and access BBC iPlayer) when you’re abroad is to buy a VPN that gives you a dedicated IP. It’s more expensive, but it’s guaranteed to work. Buying a VPN with a dedicated IP ensures that your connection in the UK will be individual to you.
I’ve been using PureVPN with a dedicated IP since December and it’s worked perfectly with BBC iPlayer. I can now watch uninterrupted live and catch-up TV on iPlayer and listen to BBC iPlayer Radio on my smartphone and iPad. From New Zealand! PureVPN only costs $2.88/month (£2.15) and the add-on price for the dedicated IP is $1.99/month (£1.49) extra.
- Buy PureVPN with a dedicated IP (in the UK)
- Download the Mac/Windows app or speak to a PureVPN live chat agent for mobile app setup guidance
- Connect to your VPN’s dedicated IP
- Open BBC iPlayer Radio and listen to TMS
“Why is a VPN with a dedicated IP the best method?” Good question. A dedicated IP is unique to a single customer, which means it won’t be detected by the BBC – who blocks any IP with abnormal activity. And because your dedicated IP address isn’t funnelling a large number of connections to iPlayer – like traditional shared VPN servers do – it will go undetected. Using a VPN with a dedicated IP replicates normal iPlayer user behaviour. 1 x IP (internet connection) = 1 connection to iPlayer.
Note: The Dedicated IP feature is only officially supported in the PureVPN app for Windows and Mac. If you want to use it on an iPhone, iPad or Android device, you’ll need to spend a couple of minutes entering your PureVPN login details to your mobile device’s built-in VPN settings. I suggest speaking to one of PureVPN’s excellent Live Chat agents (from its website) if you need any assistance – they’re very good.
The 3 Best VPNs to listen to TMS abroad
NordVPN is an excellent VPN. It has more high-end servers (in more countries) than any of its rivals. What also makes NordVPN a great option for accessing BBC iPlayer while abroad is the VPN’s Support page on its website. From here you can quickly see a list of servers that are working with BBC iPlayer.
Get NordVPN and you’ll be able to listen to Aggers and the team from anywhere in the world.
2.PureVPN (with Dedicated IP)
Next on the list is PureVPN. This server offers two good ways to access BBC iPlayer. The first is through its desktop app. All you need to do is filter servers through the Purpose tab on the app and then select the BBC iPlayer Server. Easy. However, this service has recently stopped working on the Android and iOS apps.
The second way to listen get BBC iPlayer and BBC iPlayer Radio working again is to buy PureVPN with a dedicated IP. Getting a dedicated IP gives you access to a fixed IP address in the UK. PureVPN limit the number of users they let access the IPs. This means, in theory, the IP address won’t ever facilitate abnormal levels of use when accessing iPlayer servers. So it won’t get blacklisted. Buying dedicated IP costs an extra $1.99/month (£1.40).
Another good option is ExpressVPN. This provider engages in a full-time game of Cat and Mouse with BBC iPlayer – when iPlayer blacklists one of its UK servers, ExpressVPN opens a new one.
While several other VPNs do this, ExpressVPN is a little different. First of all is the speed that it reacts to blacklisted servers. More importantly is its person 24/7 Live Chat service. If customers are experiencing any difficulties connecting to the streaming service they want to use, they’re encouraged to speak to an ExpressVPN support agent.
BBC iPlayer not working with your current VPN?
BBC iPlayer has started detecting VPNs and blacklisting their IP addresses. This means you may experience difficulties accessing BBC content while using your existing VPN (if it’s not one that’s not featured above).
If you’re already using a VPN and you see the error message “This content is not currently available” then its bad news. It means your VPN provider’s IP address has already been blacklisted.
In 2017 broadcasters- including the BBC, BT Sport and Sky – started clamping down on customers using VPNs to access content while abroad (due to licensing reasons).
The method the BBC uses to identify, and police, usage of VPNs is pretty basic. VPNs work by sharing their servers and IP addresses with their client base. This means hundreds/thousands of users are all accessing BBC iPlayer from the same IP address. Which is pretty easy for the BBC to spot and blacklist under the label “abnormal usage”.
And this is exactly what the BBC does. Luckily, there is are solutions already in place…
The easiest workaround for this is to buy the best VPN provider. We suggest NordVPN because is plays the game of Cat and Mouse with broadcasters, creating new IP addresses as soon as older ones become blacklisted.
However, the best way to beat the blacklists is to buy a dedicated IP address from a VPN provider. This way, only you have access to a VPN’s IP address so you won’t download an “abnormal” amount of data. The only VPN provider that offers this is PureVPN (for as little as £1.49/month extra).
Why do I need a VPN to listen to TMS?
The BBC streams all of its radio stations online. This means all you can listen to BBC radio on any computer, tablet or smartphone that has an internet connection. However, this is restricted to UK users only for licensing/legal reasons. This is a good and a bad thing. It means citizens of other countries can’t access BBC content for free. But it also means licence-paying UK citizens are also covered by the same block. The only way around this is by spoofing your IP location by using a VPN
During previous Ashes tours, the TMS team has made its broadcast free-for-all via a dedicated steam on YouTube, so keep an eye out for that too. However, this seems to have been shut down for more recent tours of other nations. The best way to guarantee uninterrupted TMS coverage of the England cricket team is to download a VPN and listen to BBC 5Live Sports Extra through the BBC website of the BBC iPlayer Radio app.
See How to listen to BBC Radio abroad for more information.
How much data do I need to listen to TMS?
This depends on what quality you’re streaming at. Lower-quality is broadcast at 64kbps, with the best-quality require 320kbps (overkill for talk radio). This puts your best/worst case scenarios at 20MB and 150MB per hour.