/ Technology

Is this really the end of excessive EU data roaming charges?

Mobile roaming

A new series of data roaming caps will soon be introduced in Europe. Not only that, we could see more competition as mobile operators are permitted to offer competing roaming deals on your current Sim.

From July 2012, thanks to the European Commission, mobile phone companies will only be able to charge a maximum of £0.80 per megabyte of data downloaded. It’s good news, but it’s not the most exciting statement, I’m sure you’ll agree. And it’s certainly one I’m tired of hearing.

But hidden among the new caps is a proposal that might finally bring an end to the current process of the Commission dragging the mobile operators kicking and screaming like four-year-old children to price equality throughout Europe.

New proposal could stop Euro nannying

It seems the Commission is as tired of introducing cap after cap as we are of hearing about them. It has now proposed a new way of cutting into the operators’ ‘outrageous profit margins’.

Its new plan will rely on competition to drive down prices and will let consumers sign up to a separate operator for their roaming calls while keeping the same number and even the same Sim card.

‘Virtual’ networks – such as Tesco Mobile, which runs on the O2 network – will also be free to buy access to foreign networks at regulated wholesale prices. The Commission hopes this will allow networks to offer new deals that should bring down prices for all of us.

Will the mobile networks play ball?

How this will work in practice isn’t completely clear yet – the prospect of having to deal with a bill from each operator and jump through a series of administrative hoops has me slightly concerned – but in principle it’s a good idea.

Then again there was nothing to stop the operators get together and offer competitive pricing before this – except for a desire to preserve their margins. Will these new rules actually work in changing the mobile market for the better?

I hope so, but if it relies on the mobile operators growing up and offering better deals, I’m not going to hold my breath.

Joyce says:
12 July 2011

I ordered a watch for my Husband from Bradford Exchange @ £24.99 X 5 plus £9.99 p&h = £134.94 but asked if I could pay in one instalment, whilst I was out they rang & charged him £139.94 on his c/c so I emailed them & they asked me to send a copy of the advertisement which I sent a photocopy of when the watch was delivered there was a leaflet advertising the same watch @ the same rates = £134.94
after eighteen days of me constantly emailing them they said they would put a £5 cheque in the post but no mention of any postage or photocopying money or anything for the inconvenience that this problem has caused me!!
if they overcharged everyone they spoke to on the phone they would be very rich


james browne says:
13 July 2011

the daily mail is offering a “free”sim card to give cheap calls from abroad but why does it cost a minimum of £199 to send it?hardly free.

Matt says:
19 July 2012

Vodafone have recently changed their roaming services within the EU which will cause my bills to increase from around £70 to around £126! Vodafone will not let me leave because the roaming services removed, Passport and Data Traveller were additional services and the increase in my bills will be due to roaming charges not UK charges. I explicitly asked about the availability of these services when renewing and I was told they would be available. However, now they not and I feel cheated and mis-sold. Having no luck with Vodafone or the Ombudsman, I am now forced to take Vodafone to court which I am going to do.

Vodafone did offer to reduce my line rental or termination fee by 50% but withdrew it without notice because they said I outright rejected it. However, I did not make a decision because I was seeking further advice and felt pressured into accepting the deal.

Vodafone Euro Traveller, their new offering, works out incredibly expensive if you are mainly a data user with varied roamed call use.

Data Traveller cost only 10 pounds a month for 25mb a day. In my case calls varied but in total monthly bill if I was roaming for a month was never as high as what it would cost with Euro Traveller – around 90 pounds!

As Vodafone removed the old services without giving the option to keep them, many customers and I are fighting to be released from our contracts as they are now pretty much useless when abroad and we chose Vodafone due to these services being available. Vodafone, however, are not allowing this and so complaints have been lodged with Ofcom, the Ombudsman and BBC Watchdog.

You can see the discontent here:

I have been told that Vodafone Passport and Data Traveller have been removed due to changes in EU regulations. However, Vodafone is still offering Passport as well as something which is basically Data Traveller in other countries in which it operates, for example Ireland:

http://www.vodafone.ie/planscosts/roaming/callstexts/?ts=1341962050209 – Passport
http://www.vodafone.ie/planscosts/roaming/internetabroad/phone/50mb – Data Traveller equivalent (and with double the data!)

Also, as long as Vodafone offers the regulated Eurotariff, why is Vodafone not able to offer other roaming services (ie: Passport, Data Traveller and even Euro Traveller to keep everyone happy) alongside it?

I urge all of you who are unhappy not to just sit back and take this kind of treatment. The more Vodafone see that people are upset and their reputation go down the drain, the more they are likely to worry and listen!

Prior to going on holiday in Montenegro (which I know is not in the EU) I asked my mobile phone provider, the Phone Co-op, if I would have data roaming. They assured me I would, but on crossing the border from Croatia I was unable to make calls or send texts. I had to make do with using email or social media from my smartphone, wifi permitting. With these limited means I managed to contact the Phone Co-op’s customer services, who replied that “our supplier … have told me that Montenegro is not an area covered by EE and so we would not be able to provide you with a service in this area. ” Has anyone else been caught out by not having data roaming?