back to article Vodafone gives up on roaming charges

Vodafone UK is to give up roaming charges to 45 countries, charging travellers only their usual rates for calls and messages home - though they'll still pay through the nose for data. The Passport service has been around for a while. Users sign up for free and then pay a 64p connection charge for each call which then drops to …

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orange etc.

Let's just hope that now one had decided to do this all the other operators take note.

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Stop

It's only a summer promo

For three months.

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Memories of AC Clarke...

I seem to recall that the late Mr. Clarke lamented the fact that telecommunications companies ripped us off blind, even though the principal that established common fees for postage were substantially similar. That is, the same amount of handling (switching) goes into a letter (packet/telephone call) whether being sent across the street or across the country or around the world.

If this is a step towards Mr. Clarke's dream, then top marks to Vodaphone. You may have even convinced me to become a subscriber.

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limited time offer

The guy from Vodaphoner was on Radio 4 this morning talking about this, and dodging the interviewer's question about why it was only for 3 months. (Then it reverts to the current system) The answer was a complete non-sequitor about Vodaphone always giving the customers a choice.

He also said that it was open to everyone on Vodaphone, but didn't explain how it worked with PAYG and corporate contracts.

Just my luck: my company mobile is Vodaphone, and I am allowed to make limited personal local calls, but we are changing to another supplier next month, just weeks before I go to France for 3 weeks. I guess that means I'll have to keep it switched off and be unreachable, sigh! What a shame.

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Anonymous Coward

At last

some seemingly good news for mobile phone customers hopefuly.

Lets hope vodafone haven't left some unseen catch in this, and for once the small print isn't electron telescopic in size and it actually "does what it says on the tin".

Any one know if it's cross carrier, on the lines of say a vodafone customer on a UK tariff calling say an O2 UK tariff, but both being in France, if you get my drift.

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Brilliant

A great move from vodafone, hopefully O2 will follow suit then I can benefit from it.

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If only this included data...

I'd be over to Vodafone like a shot.

Not "I want to tether my laptop and watch iPlayer" data, but "I want to check my GMail on my phone" data.

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IT Angle

When?

So when's it happening then?

Just after I get back from my hols, probably :(

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Flame

This catch ridden offer offer is why...

...people are in so much debt today. Let's see now: a) Unlimited texts: Did you know that if you send a text longer than 160 chars, you pay for the two or more texts required to delivery the full message? b) 08XX numbers: They are not included in your free minutes, yet more and more firms are making them their point of contact, such as your bank or favourite computer manufacturer. c) You take advantage of this latest Vodafone offer, only to forget it expires in August and are billed into submission. Not to mention, you have to keep a list of countries on you. d) Sending an email is pretty much free (on a data plan), yet sending an MMS costs 38p! So much for technology making life easier. The issue here is not the cost, it is the deceptive terms that mean consumers will mistakingly pay far more than they intended, making cash flow management impossible - no matter their good intentions. Why are we British so easily duped?

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Removing Japan

Japan was probably removed from the line-up because Vodafone sold Vodafone Japan to SoftBank a few years ago, so not so strange after all.

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Anonymous Coward

Zero charge for roaming?

This is getting interesting. I do sometimes travel to France and knowing that I'll only get stung for data charges (including when receiving MMS messages by the looks of it) is a good argument for me to choose Vodafone instead of O2 when I move away from T-Mobile (useless data service) in about 7 weeks from now. What I'd like to know is if calling a landline in any one of the "supported countries" under this new policy is also deducted from your minutes or billed ex-contract...

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Paris Hilton

it's always irked me...

whether it's Vodafone or O2/Telefonica than if you've selected the partner network, using the partner servers, that the incusive data is not, well, inclusive!

The GSM technology has worked so well, with it's built in roaming ability and it seems that it's only the costing model that lets the consumers down. It's very annoying to be charged roaming charges within EU & affiliate borders!

I'm certainly making the most of my 7GBP/month O2 inclusive data tariff and I'd like it to 'work' when I travel abroad, too.

(Paris, 'cos she likes to roam...)

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Argh

I just shifted from Vodafone to 3 because of the lovely £20 unlimited data package. 3 also used to have the best roaming charges in Europe. Ah well, it is only for summer and I'll only be spending 4-5 days in Belgium. The rest of the time I'll be in Malaysia, so it'll be the usual mix of receiving texts on my mobile and replying via Skype on my laptop.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Zero charge for roaming?

I asked this question, and I'm afraid calls to other countries will still be international and charged appropriately.

Bill.

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64p for connection?????

You can buy a cell phone for that in 3rd world countries like New Zealand

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Unhappy

Massive Hidden catch

As said in the article it is only open to customers who have passport enabled, what is doen't say is your mobile must be connected to a Vodaphone owned network in the other country which is by no means gauranteed. If your mobile has found an alternative network then it is full price calls.

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Coat

O2 unlimited texts bundle work when roaming

I have put my kids onto O2 SIM only contracts for £20/month that include unlimited texts.

A little known fact is that O2 let you use 4 texts from your bundle for each text sent whilst roaming. As long as we stick within the fair use limit (~2000 texts a month), texts in France are free. Woo hoo!

This is a big change from Vodafone, who used to charge my kids around £50 to £100 a week when in France even though I severely curtailed their texting.

(Mine's the one with the Voda/T-mob/3/O2 service agreements in the pocket)

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Coat

Its still a rip-off

They've abolished "roaming charges", they are now called "Connection charges". A rip-off bay any other name is still a rip-off.

A bone of contention for some Vodafone users in border areas is although you are not roaming, you manage to end up on a cell across the border, and are charged accordingly e.g. Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland, Spain/Portugal. Vatican City? How big is the Vatican City? I'd imagine that people in Vatican City and Rome must get crucified for roaming charges.

Sorry for the last bit, I'll get my coat.......

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Anonymous Coward

Some things...

a) Unlimited texts: Did you know that if you send a text longer than 160 chars, you pay for the two or more texts required to delivery the full message?

AND? The point is? An SMS is 160 characters, so yes, clearly that'll be two x 160 characters or part thereof. Simple math. Just because Britain fails in the math department does not make it the operator's fault. That's why Nokia and other mobile hardware manufacturers use the "character (SMS count)" style to show that you have only x number of characters left before you hit the next SMS limit.

b) 08XX numbers: They are not included in your free minutes, yet more and more firms are making them their point of contact, such as your bank or favourite computer manufacturer.

Well, guess what, there's this lovely site called SAYNOTO0870.COM, which lists many lovely non-08 numbers that you can use. And yes, they do work. I know because each and every one of my suppliers is listed on there, and I don't pay for 08 calls anymore (only when I'm an idiot and don't look it up do I get charged).

@ Ponder Stebbins: Neither Vodafone, nor O2 or T-Mobile charge you for cross-border roaming in Northern Ireland. I've ended up on a Meteor cell and been charged exactly the same. And why? Because the providers recognise the conundrum and realise that they will have to make the appropriate adjustments. As for the Vatican, they most likely deal with it as part of Italy, even if it is not. Besides, you shouldn't be using your mobile in the Vatican you unbeliever. ;-)

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@Andrew Woodvine

You could roam on DoCoMo instead? Or Vodafone could do a deal with Softbank (Vodafone Japan is now classed as a "company that ceases to exist" so it's not like Vodafone would be dealing with Vodafone.)

Maybe it's because Japan has zero GSM support... I can't find the list that the register is referring to, but on the page on Vodafone's site about the passport service the list only seems to contain GSM countries and one 3G country.. Japan.

Anyhow, I have o2's unlimited data plan thing (200MB) and never seem to get charged for roaming with it. Which is nice. :)

/me is sitting only a few foot away from a NTT cell site.

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Anonymous Coward

meh

About time I'd say. Until now us customers were not getting the benefit of these mergers where Vodafone took over Mannessmann , T-Mobile bought One-2-One etc. They just seemed to serve to keep the profits within the companies. Maybe this is the dawning of true competition within the mobile networks.

Of course you'll still get skinned if you travel across the Pond - £1.50 a minute and none of this per second billing malarkey.

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Border areas

I've got a "Welcome to Orange France" text message on my phone whilst on the beach at Dover.

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Unhappy

Packets are packets

Whether they are switching voice, or data, it's not as if the Telcos are using copper to shift your communications around. At some point either someone gets it (sounds like Vodafone are experimenting) or the alternatives like Skype etc get so good that the incumbents are threatened. Little chance of that just yet, but roll on the day. Anyone have any idea what the profitability must be for the UK/Europeane Telcos as they scoop up US roaming data and voice charges from their local customers visiting Obama-land? I'm told it's even worse if you live in Canada.

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Vodafone bundles

@Iain Purdie said "I just shifted from Vodafone to 3 because of the lovely £20 unlimited data package."

I was on a £40+ package with Vodafone ... I gave them a call and said I was happy with my handset, what deal could they do.

600 minutes, unlimited texts, passport and "unlimited" data (500Mb/month) for £19odd a month for nine months (half price) and then back to full price (£38ish/month), except after nine months I could change my contract and renew at whatever deal they had then (I was offered it as half off for 75% of the contract time for 12,18 or 24 months, and then the right to renew at the end of that 75% time or move to another contract) ... and that's a data package I can use with my laptop (of course I've got a better deal on a USB data stick by shopping around ... £7.50/month for 5Gb from 3 ... but 3 isn't everywhere so it's handy being able to read email on the phone (Nokia E71 or SonyEricsson P990) or hook up either of those to the laptop for surfing using the phone as internet modem.

There are deals to be made at the moment, and the companies don't want to lose you ... find yourself a good person at the other end of the phone and let them go find the best deal for you, I've been impressed!

Annoyingly I fly to Germany on May 21st and back on the 25th and then the next time I'm due in Germany is the end of September, so this summer promo is totally at the wrong timng for me.

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Anonymous Coward

It will be cheaper to still to get a local sim card

I average about £160 for 1 week mobile phone usage while in Portugal, most of it is due to received calls, the phone network is vodafone UK. In my last trip, I did enabled roaming thinking that i was going to be able to use my free minutes, however i then realized that using the free minutes only applies to UK networks, so I decided to get a local sim card for 10 euros with 5 euro credit, I then topped up another 10 euros. So I spend £20 euros for the whole week this time.

The current .75p roaming charge is a robbery anyway.

This deal seems good for those who need to be in contact with people back in the UK, but for local calls is still better and cheaper (for both parties) to get a local sim card. Remember that those calling you locally on a UK network are calling an international number and get charged big time.

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Coat

Wandered into Germany???

Surely, if I was in france, and rang my mates UK mobile to find out that he was in Germany, your report is incorrect, as I would be ringing a UK mobile number, and therefor it would be a free call from my minutes.

And to think I tell my kids off for spotting this sort of thing when I tell them something....

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Coat

@ Anonymous coward with the £160 usage

Interestingly enough, if you are abroad and using your UK mobile number, anyone calling you from the UK is charged at the same rate as if you had been in the UK (thats the good bit about roaming). The 75p charge is a connection setup (which will be waived if the above is correct during June, July and August), and then you use your home tariff, so if you have minutes available you can use them. E.G. a 25 minute call from Portugal to the UK would cost about £10 on the roaming rates, but on Vodafone Passport (providing you have UK minutes available) would cost you 75pence including VAT (YES, THATS 75 PENCE, 3/4 of a pound, 75 pennies, or a 50p + a 20p + a 5p coin - or any combination of coin of the realm that totals up to 75p) and 25 of your inclusive minutes. Receiving a call is cheap as well. You could ring me if I was in a passport country, and it would cost me 75p to receive the call, and I would be able to chat away for 1 hour on that call at no further cost to myself.

QUOTE "This deal seems good for those who need to be in contact with people back in the UK, but for local calls is still better and cheaper (for both parties) to get a local sim card. Remember that those calling you locally on a UK network are calling an international number and get charged big time"

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE explain how ringing a portugese number would work out cheaper for someone in the UK to ring from their mobile, than ringing a UK number and using their inclusive minutes?????

mines the flame retardant one, with the matching tin-foil hat

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Anonymous Coward

Loss leader?

Suspect the idea if this is to get more PAYG people to sign-up to Passport and then forget about it.

That way they'll make more out of the passport connection fee + UK rates than from a "full price" international call ... after all with the EU rate limits then calls from Europe are getting close to the price of UK calls on PAYG! Meanwhile, its 4x cheaper in the UK to phone someone in Eastern Europe, or India etc than it is to call someone next door!

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