The House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on the Internal Market, Energy and Transport has said that Britons are paying too much to use smartphones for data when traveling to other European countries. Current roaming charges are "deterring consumers from accessing increasingly important smartphone services while abroad", the Sub- …
Vodafone are offering 25Mb (per day) of EU data free with some of their contracts now - it's not a huge amount but a step forward and probably enough for most email / web usage (obviously not streaming etc.).
Some other networks seemed to be charging around £4+ per Mb.
Vodafone 25MB per day
Yes, this is a big improvement, it means I will use up to 25MB before switching to a local SIM, but let's remember they only did this because Ms Reding threatened them with the brown stick.
The problem for the robber barons at the mobile operators is the 1000x multiplier they are applying to the actual data backhaul cost between the remote network and their own network where they add the pointless crap their customers never wanted anyway and fiddle with all your packets.
The problem for the politicians will be that the mobile operators will threaten to egress the traffic locally in the country the phone is in meaning that the bottom inspectors won't be able to sift through all your data without a warrant any more. It will take several seconds for the excuse of terrorpaedos to come up and everything to go back to the way it was.
Multi-nation phone companies
I find it a complete FAIL that companies like Orange, T-Mobile and VodaFone that have national operators in multiple countries don't leverage that to offer a differentiated service to their users by offering cheaper roaming to their other branded companies overseas. They'd much rather just continue getting tons of money from roaming charges, most of which is pure profit.
Vodafone Ireland Prepay
I carry a prepaid Vodafone Ireland card which gives 50MB for 3 Euro a day in most European countries, and 10MB for 5Euro in most other countries. Still expensive, but manageable. I can get all my email (only download the first 4KB per msg, the app K9 does this) and just enough navigation to be useful with 10MB. It is crazy that I have had to strip all the sync-ing and data-slurping apps off my travel-phone, though...
Outside the EU
the real shocker is charges outside the EU.
Back in the 90's, the typical roaming cost was the foreign network rate +20%. Today visitors to the US can expect to pay about £1.50/minute for a local call in the US that should be a couple of pence per minute and the same for a call home that should probably be around 15p/minute.
It's a racket and should be stopped. If the operators won't do it voluntarily, it should be a condition of any new spectrum allocation.
"many people feel they need to turn their mobile phones off when travelling abroad"
Aha! If people turn off their mobiles, then there is no tracking data of where their citizens are. Therefore this is an attempt to enable more pervasive tracking by trying to have people leave their phones on while travelling.
terrorpeado - nice one, i did laugh. trouble is, it's funny cos it's true.