back to article Holidaymaker gets £31k data roaming bill

Another jet-setting TV addict has fallen foul of unreasonable roaming fees, this time to the tune of £31,500, just to get their TV fix - just as the EU considers how best to curtail the operators' roaming rates. The chap concerned was on holiday in Portugal when he decided to forgo the local sights and download an episode of the …

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Linux

It is wireless broadband

If you are actually interested in Prison Break, and download using a mobile internet access to do such then you deserve the high bill.

If you are given a quote for a specific value and they change without notice then yes they should be liable. If you are just to stupid to read your contract then you deserver to be bent over and violated.

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cap it

I travel to mainland europe alot and i need to use my vodafone dongle while away.

So far vodafone have been very good with a fixed price while abroad (more than at home) but still a fixed price per day (up to 50mb).

Having said that, EVERY time i travel i phone vodafone first and check with them the cost and the limitations, that way i know and they have on record what they told me.

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Let's spin it another way

How about: Personal Responsibility

Some people need to grow up, get a spine, and accept the consequences. "Hey, look mum, I'm watching telly in Portugal on my mobile. What's that? It's going to cost me more than £2.30? Shorely Shum Mishtake."

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Silver badge

More Evidence Against Mobile Industry

UK phone companies are long overdue for investigation. They exist via confusion marketing, vastly overpriced call costs -- and a ludicrously outdated link between hardware provision and service provision that defies all concepts of anti-trust legislation (and tempts users with new phones for "free" so that they discard perfectly usable handsets).

Roaming charges are a blatant refusal by these companies to to accept the single european market -- and they deserve to be fined daily until they cease breaching the law or cease trading.

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Am I the only one?

That thinks £229 is still a insane price?

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Tim
Stop

Are people still this thick?

It's hardly news that roaming is expensive these days. Data is expensive, so put the two together and you have an idiot who clearly doesn't think enough to wonder what will happen when he goes abroad and behaves like a right saddo!

I like to think of these things as a stupidity tax!

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IT Angle

What a fool!

An IT Pro yet he doesn't know about roaming and the higher charges?

He should have been made to pay! He used the service, he should pay the costs.

What next? Heading through customs with 40 million cigarettes in your suitcase then kick up a fuss cause "no one" told you that you would have customs charges or you had a limit of how much your allowed to bring back? Surely the UK Customs have a "duty of care" over the people of UK and would surely need to tell us at point of sale of the ciggaretts what we can bring back etc. No one told me. Stamps feet. Squeel. Shout. Stamps feet more!! "Oh okay Sir, on you go, sorry customs stopped you".

Tsk!

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Flame

France ain't cheap either

I just got back from holiday in France and I can tell you it costs £5 per Mb on SFR (I'm with Vodafone). Stupid companies seem to think they have a right to gouge other networks customers.

While I can understand that roaming adds SOME cost, not that much.

I pay £7.50 in the UK for up to 500Mb per month.

The sooner the EU stomps on these companies the better.

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Anonymous Coward

Bonkers

£31,500 is clearly a completely bonkers amount to be paying (I wonder how THAT figure compares to getting data down from the Hubble Space Telescope)

But £229 is ALSO a completely bonkers amount too! Common sense says that he SHOULD have been charged, say, £20? At most? And even that seems a silly price.

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Bad TV

That will teach him for watching a crap tv program.

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Stop

what a chump

I mean seriously - how stupid can people actually be - clearly very! I understand that roaming charges for data are over priced at best, but I would have thought that this subject has been covered so many times in the press, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who had the ability to setup a mobile data source on their computer and didn't know the implications of data roaming...

Clearly I'm wrong...

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Stop

Total Idiot

So his defence was he wanted to illegaly download some broadcast TV ?

I hope Fox sue him for illegal downloading too.

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Stop

Stupid operators

Why should any operator NOT have a cap on a standard data package? How many people are deliberately going to run up a 30k bill?

Even if no-one's quite stupid enough to download huge video files, the fact is that anyone can run up a bill at £10 a second with a good HSDPA connection. How much control do you have over what your laptop is doing these days; Automatic Windows Update, anybody? Acrobat Updater? They download first, ask questions later.

This pricing was first devised for 9.6kbps GSM CSD connections, and is unchanged for HSDPA running at up to 7.2MBps. Not implementing some kind of cap in these circumstances is grossly irresponsible of the operators. I hope the EU takes them to the cleaners.

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Stop

The cap

The price should be capped at what it would cost to hire a guy from the UK to download the data and take a flight out to you with it on a DVD (gold plated of course, and on a silver platter). Throw in reasonable amounts of luxury accommodation and generous expenses for him, together with ample booze, girls, lethal skunk supplies, etc. and you'd still be quids in compared with using Vodafone. I dare say you could even afford to have him bring a nice curry and crate of beer along to help you enjoy the movie. Perhaps even a few of your mates from home could make the trip as well - in a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce, naturally.

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Try Vodafone Ireland's normal data rate

They currently charge 2c per kb!

http://vodafone.ie/planscosts/paymonthly/other/

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Stop

Idiot - deserved what he got

Fair or unfair, it's largely irrelevant. EVERYone knows it's more expensive to use your mobile abroad and to figure out what your charges are.

I'm willing to put money on the fact that he used a torrent to get it and probably left it uploading as well.

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Eh?

What's all this 'he should have read and understood his contract' talk?

A contract is not some sort of 11th Commandment and utterly binding, whatever it says on it. A figure so high goes beyond fair and unreasonable and starts to become a punative penalty charge, which is unenforceable in contract law.

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Coat

What I don't understand

is how the company concerned can afford to write off the bill of over £31K and only charge £229? Surely they have to pay a roaming company for using all that data? Either someone is making a HUGE amount of money or I'm missing something

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Black Helicopters

errrr

Why didn't that idiot look for a hot spot, or simply go to some kind of internet caffee...

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@Fihart

"UK phone companies are long overdue ...."

The UK operators are relatively enlightened compared to some of their continental equivalents. For example, the prices in Germany are higher and the contracts automatically renew for one year if you fail to give three months written notice of termination. I would be chuffed to have the same prices and conditions offered by the UK operators.

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Anonymous Coward

to those complaining of stupidity and laziness...

...I presume all of you read every line of the EULA fine print in every software product you use? Because, you know, if you got sued for a hundred grand because you missed something in the fine print, you'd just be a stupi lazy moron who deserved to be bent over.

But I'm sure you guys read every last character of it, right? Hmm?

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Stop

About time?

What is Ofcom up to?

Is Ofcom earning its public sheckles?

What telcos are losing lots and lots of money?

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JC

@ 229 insane price

yes 229 is outrageous, but 31k is just a joke. F'em

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Anonymous Coward

Set a download limit?

Surely it would be better to just set a cap on how much you want to spend, when you reach it it wont let you download anymore. This should be set at some default amount like £100 and you have to call to change it. No doubt telecom firms will not like as screwing people is the name of their game.

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Text message equivalent

No one seems to have mentioned that text messages are even more ridiculously priced:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1949634/Mobile-phone-texts-cost-more-than-space-data.html

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@Chris

2c per kb is 20€ per megabyte. At that rate, to download the typical half-gig divx movie, you'd spend 10000€. Even a movie that has been specially compressed for a cellphone-sized display would still cost hundreds. Just click on a page that has big images, and your pre-paid will be drained before you can hit 'stop'. Checking your email? Better hope noone sent you cute lolcats.

Let's face it, data tariffs (without purchasing a bundle) are utterly and totally insane, either roaming or at home. That's why I never, ever, use my mobile to surf the web. I wouldn't use it enough to justify the cost of a bundle, and I can't risk clicking on a google search result and accidentally spending 40€.

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Paris Hilton

Prison Break - yeah right more xxx

these are ridiculous costs and yes the person was a bit of an idiot for not knowing there would some large costs associated with it.

Perhaps they should ask how he paid for a copy of prison break too!!

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Tim

Buy the DVD?

He could of bought the whole series and loads of CDs for £229, and CDs and DVDs cheaper in europe too.

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Re: Set a download limit?

How about saying how much you will guarantee? And if the pipe is saturated on your segment or downstream to the edge of the ISP (I.e. all the ISP's network you're using) for an hour, you get credit at double-bubble. A connection you can't have more than 50% of the time is not a connection.

If that means they have to advertise slower speeds, then we'll have slower speeds. But they can't go willy-waving about the size of their pipes if they can't be used.

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I haven't yet had a coffee

Hence, though I knew this was about mobile phone downloads, by the time I'd gotten to the end of the comments, I'd forgotten.

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Flame

Eh

So you're on holiday, taking a break from the rat race and absorbing some of the local culture[1] and you decide, in all the wealth of things to do... to watch TV. And are willing to pay £229 to do so. "A fool and his money.." and so on. Who goes on holiday to watch the goggle box? Flames icon, 'cos no doubt somebody does.

[1] Just the one *hic*

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Anonymous Coward

You see, that's exactly what's wrong with the world...

People go on holiday to a foreign country, and want to watch naff TV? They can do that at home for (almost) free and pay for me to go on their holiday, if shows like that mean so much to them.

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Re: What a fool!

OK, so this person should pay the costs.

It didn't cost £31,000 to move that data, maybe £10. Add £25 for the letters and admin and they owe £35.

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@What I don't understand

>is how the company concerned can afford to write off the bill of over £31K and only charge

>£229? Surely they have to pay a roaming company for using all that data? Either someone

>is making a HUGE amount of money or I'm missing something

I think what you are missing is that the cost of the roaming that Vodafone (UK) will have come from Vodafone (Portugal) so probably that enabled Vodafone to reduce the cost (presumably to what it would have been in UK on an non-bundled rate) as all the costs were within the same family of companies - certainly when I was in Portugal earlier in the year my Vodafone SIM connected to Vodafone Portugal whenever possible. I suspect things would have been more complicated if he'd been somewhere where roaming was via a non-Vodafone company!

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What a idiot...

I'm waiting for him to get sued for downloading Prison Break...then Vodafone get sued for letting him download Prison Break...then Yes Telecom get sued for letting him download Prison Break

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How much

Its not always easy to find out how much the data tariff is before going. Last time I took the laptop over to Europe I checked on the website and it mentioned "up to £12.50 per MB" so I phoned the enquires number to ask what they exact rate for France was, they couldn't tell me, I'd have to get in touch which ever network I was connected to. They couldn't even say for their recommended choice of SFR, bloody useless. At least they've now put up the exact cost of £5/MB on the website.

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Vodafone Blackberry

Vodafones Blackberry tariff has a data charge of £10 per mb whilst out of the UK so those spam emails really start to get expensive........

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Theft anyone?

£31k might seem like small change once people like RIAA, MPA, etc.. get their hands on him. Illegal downloads are the crime du jour at the moment. If he's a serial illegal downloader and he's not exactly hiding his ID, then he might wish he paid the £31k and left it well alone!

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Anonymous Coward

3 mobile broadband abroad

I understood that the costs and conditions of using 3's mobile broadband service in countries such as Italy and Ireland where they have an infrastructure were identical to those you sign to in the UK, and you were treated as if you had never left the UK. Has this changed?

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Wrong Target

It doesn't matter who bills whom for what.

The point is if I usually spend £50 a month, I would *expect* a warning call from my supplier when my bill goes over, say, £250, or £500, after all, they know my number! Credit card companies shut down your card after ONE "unusual" transaction. A simple ruling - if the company don't attempt to contact the user when the bill exceeds (say) 5x its normal spend, then the customer isn't liable. He may not realise the charge levels, the phone may have been stolen, or like so many lousy phone designs, it may have been "pocket-activated".

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Stop

@ Insane Price

For all those complaining about insane pricing, remember that 3 have to cover the cost of this with the foreign operator; it's likely that they will lose thousands whle this wanker gets off with a token £229 charge.

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Pirate

@ Set a download limit?

My network (T-mobile, sad I know but it works for me) has a monthly credit limit on its pay monthly accounts, but afaik they don't tell you unless you ask. I only found out when I put extra phones on the account. Mind you when they told me what my limit was I had to get them to lower it, something like 6 x my usual monthly bill.

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Alert

@Mark Browell - Bang on the money!

Exactly what I was thinking!!!

"Oh boo hoo, I did something wrong, wasted a lot of money and now I want someone else to take the responsibility for it."

Three things I believe in, above all else:

1. If it looks too good to be true, it is! ( No, not probably is, IT IS! )

2. Life's guarantees two things: Taxes and Death!

3. Never underestimate the ingenuity of a fool.

I think these actually cover this story quite well!

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Idiot - deserved what he got +1

The bottom line is, if you take out a contract with any! company you make sure you understand the pricing regardless! of whether its extorsionate or not, this guy clearly did't which is NOT the networks fault people have to take resposiblity for there own stupity, I would.

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IT Angle

why theft?

Why are you all assuming he stole it? If you pay for a subscription to a service such as SKY, you have the ability to download TV programmes at a later date. The same applies to Virgin......

Just a thought...

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Pirate

A possibility?

Maybe the daft bugger was connecting to a slingbox for TV and using iTunes for his music. The article doesn't say whether he used legal or illegal download sources. What it does say is that Vodafone can write off over 30k of charges when they make the headlines. Makes you wonder how much they are overcharging people who don't run up newsworthy bills.

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Anonymous Coward

read the small print

To everyone asking themselves if £229 is a bit steep... yes, it's a complete rip off. Even the £35 suggested above is excessive given the lack of costs incurred to automatically forward an electronic signal but I would stomach it for important communications (perhaps covering a full month abroad, unlimited or continuous access). The only significant costs are the "connect - to - provider" charges which, for IP phones, rarely amounts to more than a fraction of a penny and for even the most draconian telephone operator is still in the 1-10p range (2-20cents, ah, hold on - 19cents,.... errr 18 cents ... ). But I can't help but laugh that this prat felt the need to watch such insipid British telly whilst on holiday.

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Hwo do you know ?

Ever tried to contact a mobile provider to ask how much the data price is for foreign usage ? You might as well ask them in Chinese 'cos they never seem to know.

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IT Angle

International charges...

Is everyone aware that it can take up to 6 months for any international calls and data usage to appear on your bill?

All the talk of having a set lever say £100 for the bill and restrict the service or contact the customer may not work.

Worst case would be he tans the arse off his data usage overseas, comes back to the UK, then the network get the details of what he's been doing.

I suspect he's probably downloaded a few albums and a few prison breaks. So thats at least say 5gigs of data? Roughly 5120MB @ £7.50 per MB = £38,400 so it would be correct charges and really he should have paid it!

If this sort of thing keeps happening ultimately the charges would then be passed on to us!

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@3 mobile broadband abroad

No this has not changed, it also applys to any bundled minutes/texts as well (and voicemail is also free in the locations they have "sister" networks).

Relevent information is found here:

http://www.three.co.uk/personal/help_support_/abroad_/3_like_home_pay_monthly.omp

Least one network does it correctly (the main reason I use them as i have to travel to 4 of the 7 locations on a semi regular basis)

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