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From today, European carriers will not be able to charge you more than €50 a month for data you've sent and received over their networks while travelling abroad, unless you've agreed otherwise with your service provider. The move is the result of legislation enacted in 2009 to prevent mobile phone users receiving horrendous …

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FAIL

Virgin's huge rise

Virgin Mobile's previous £5 per Mb rate appears to no longer be available for Europe, as far as I can see - all their documentation implies you now have to use the travel passes within the EU.

So a little bit of email / twitter / facebook checking is now a minimum of £4 a day. Which is a joke.

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eh?

Not sure why you voted Vodafone best when you said T-mobile was better.

Of course, with t-mobile you pre-pay, so the actual rate you get may not be as good as it first appears (unused MBs not refunded). But 20p per MB instead of £1 per MB takes some beating, it seems to me!

[disclosure: happy(ish) T-mobile customer. no more than that]

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Paris Hilton

It shows the margin

When Orange can do 200mb for £90 if you buy it in advance but if you dont it costs six times as much!

Paris, cheaper by the dozen it appears.

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Gold badge
Grenade

Scandalous!!!!!

Where are the regulators when we need them?!?!

I don't mind them charging extra for roaming, the costs are higher. I don't mind them making extra profits on roaming, it's a more unusual service, and there's every reason to charge a premium for it. Although in most cases in Europe, the first justification falls away, as the companies are probably roaming with sister-companies from within the same group.

The cheapest is 20p a megabyte, so £200 a GB!!!!!! You can easily get £5 a GB on UK packages so that's 40 times the price!!!!!!

I'm going all exclamation marks and soon the CAPSLOCK will jam on and it's FoTW time. The grammar's still OK, but it won't last...

***wanders off foaming at the mouth and gibbering***

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Flame

Why exactly should roaming be more expensive?

The local rates in Europe are under 10£ per Gigabyte with tethering allowed for pre-paid and even lower than that on contract.

The rate for a roamed mobile should actually be _LOWER_ than that. A local mobile needs SGSN and GGSN resource and needs its traffic billed, analysed, optimised, run through a sandvine or whatever else the operator decides to do with it. As a result a byte on the air for a local user is actually often more expensive than a byte for a roamed one. The roaming data traffic nowdays is usually put on a VPN and run as GTP to the home operator location across the same link which the home operator uses as IP transit.

While the mobile telcos can show the _OLDER_ varieties of the 3GPP spec which specify frame relay here and there as a justification for charging that is not how they can do it and not how they actually do it. The way it should be done (and is done for at least some operators) should produce roaming data tariffs in the 20£ per GIGABYTE, not megabyte range.

So we should all thank the regulator for once again flunking this one same as they have done with voice.

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Not much better if you get local SIM

As someone who spends a few weeks a year in France I have always been looking for the best option to get online.

I have an SFR SIM which gets me online for EUR9 per day. This is still very expensive indeed and not much less than the T Mobile deal.

Looking at non-roaming data charges in much of Europe I think we are blessed with very low prices in the UK for data.

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Flame

Bulgaria is around 15Eu per 1G valid for a month

I am surprised that France is so stunningly bad in terms of prices. Most other countries are much better. Austria, most of the Balkans and even Spain come to mind as way cheaper than the price you quote for SFR.

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T-Mobile

I used the T-Mobile Booster when I was last in Europe...

£10 for 50MB, which lasted me the duration of my 2 week holiday (browsing, emailing, facetweeting and a bit of googlemapsing on my phone).

I think that's pretty reasonable.

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Decisions, decisions...

Virgin Mobile £10 gets you 2MB, T-Mobile £10 gets you 50MB. Hmm, which should I go for?!

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FAIL

49 quid > 50 euros

Surely some of the limits they've stuck on are already in breach of the regs? 49 quid for example is currently 59 euros...?

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Stop

Data Usage

Is it just me, or should they also publish some guidelines as to how much something like a typical Facebook status update, or Skype call for say 5 minutes uses?

As some of them are selling time limited data packages surely they could tell you what you can do with a 20MB package, for instance.

I can see the operators selling the higher cost, higher data allowance packages to people who may only need a fraction of the allowance and end up not being able to use the rest of it because the package has expired. Kerching!

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FAIL

What kind of f**kery is this?

It's daylight robbery, is what it is. The sliding scale should be from 'bad' to 'awful'. Basically, it's either an Idiot's tax, or a way of gouging anyone who has limited choice in the matter.

Which is why when we travel to Italy (where fortunately we have family and can provide an address) we get a vodafone PAYG tarriff. If I recall it was 20 or 30 euros for a month with a cap of a few gigabytes. Enough not to matter. Upgraded my Nvidia drivers while I was there. The dongle may even have been bundled.

We did the same with Virgin PAYG in the US. That cost more to set up, maybe about $75, but now it just needs top-ups whenever we go, like $20 for a month's whatever.

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N2
Bronze badge

You dont have to sign up to any of this nonsense

Just turn off 3G roaming and use a wireless hotspot, if you need to. Or turn your phone off altogether, if youre on holiday.

I used to think that one of the benefits of European membership was a standardisation of stuff like this but its still a shining example of rip off britain.

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Tmobile

I'll endorse the comments on the good value of Tmobile's euro internet boosters. 2 £5 boosters gave me the bandwidth needed to find out what was happening to my travel prospects when stranded by the ash cloud in Portugal earlier this year ... plus an extra £1 on the last day came in very handy to find where the Avis office in Santander was as discoverd that it had moved since my SatNav maps were done! This combined with the 6 months "unlimited" internet for £20 in the UK (plus if you time your top-ups right another 2 months free from putting the £20 on your account) means its a pretty good deal if, like me, you predominatly use your phone for data rather than calls!

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Colour me ambivalent.

Initially when I received the message "For data roaming please buy a topup" I had visions of having to register my credit card or mess around with the T-Mobile website to pay £50 for 10MB of data but, thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised to find a painless procedure to add £10 to my phone bill and get as much data allowance as I needed to check email and do a little light browsing. So, in all, much better than a previous trip where I returned to a £100 bill because I used data at £7.50/Mb (T-Mobile's listed it in Mb) -- I should point out I knew what I was doing and thought it a necessary evil.

However, when you think about it the situation is still terrible -- mobile data roaming should be included in your UK allowance. After all, it's the same network you're using.

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Stop

More Regulation

What the EU needs to do is regulate the cost per GB, not the maximum tariff. This gets rid of nasty surprises, but doesn't get rid of the root of the problem. They've done it with voice calls and texts, so why can't they do it with data?

The main problem is that the network in the country you're in sets the prices. The EU now dictates a maximum amount that a network can charge roaming phones for voice calls and texts. However, they don't dictate anything for data. There's absolutely no incentive for a network to reduce charges to roaming phones, because the people who get charged more aren't their customers. AFAIK, the UK networks make very little or no profit on data usage (or other usage) in the EU, simply because they have to pay the receiving network so much.

What we need is a logical cap on data charges. Obviously you should expect to pay slightly more while roaming, but it shouldn't be more than double what you pay at home. A lot of the networks in the EU are the same companies as the networks in the UK, so there's very little but profit stopping this happening.

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FAIL

What about texts?

At a rate of around 10p per 160 character SMS from continental Europe to UK, the equivalent data rate would be 64Kp per MB (where 1 MB == 1024 * 1024, and 64 Kp == £655.36).

There will no doubt be some argument from people who know more than I do that there is a routing overhead for SMS that doesn't exist for the data frames, but it seems pointless to complain about a £1/MB data rate when SMS is the equivalent of 600x more.

I only rant about this as O2 recently dropped their 1 SMS abroad == 4 SMS from your allowance rule, that used to give me free unlimited SMS from France, to join the snivelling ranks of all the other networks that charge between 10p and 18p per SMS.

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