From 1 July 2012, accessing the internet using your phone or tablet while you're travelling around Europe will get less expensive. But don't expect to by downloading media files on the cheap. Even come 2014, it's still going to cost a packet. Following the agreement reached between European bureaucrats from the EU, EC and EP, …
Shouldn't count as roaming within the EU.
How long will be be before there is an EU wide mobile network? Then as long as you were within the EU it would count as your home network and there wouldn't be a problem with roaming charges.
That or more dual sim phones please.
Re: Shouldn't count as roaming within the EU.
Most certainly. Otherwise what's the point of having a common market? AFAIK a couple of years ago Vodafone had something similair, not proper EU-wide network but you could jump from Voda UK to Voda Germany etc etc using your 'home' minutes. This was for voice roaming but no reason it couldn't be done for data. Then let the individual national subsidiaries work out the cross-company charges without inflicting them on the consumer
The pricing is outrageous, especially as its essentially the same big companies operating in each country.
Sorry, you're still accounting in Megabytes, a unit that we stopped using for storage and data transmission back in the 90's at least.
I lost interest the second I read that they were still using that unit. When you're ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE out of sync with the real world, it's time to rethink how you do things.
The real message. From July 2012, cost per Gb no more than €700 (£584), July 2013 no more than €450 (£375) then July 2014 no more than €200 (£167). This for a service that normally costs about £10 in the UK.
The trick of hiding the real costs under per Mb figure should be the first thing to go.
Forget the EU, what about the states, £8 for a single megabyte really is taking the Michael.
First thing I'm going to have to do when visiting later this year is get some sort of PAYG SIM, no idea where from or what I'm looking for though!
PAYG in the US
It's pretty easy to pick up a SIM: AT&T and T-Mobile both use compatible networks. There are plenty of MVNO who resell their networks. I picked up a SIM from SimpleMobile straight from SFO. The package I went with wasn't cheap: USD 100 but it did include calls to Europe for about USD 0.02 per minute and enough data (GPRS mainly on the T-Mobile network) for what I needed. You can also rent phones for the period your over. Worth checking out the websites before you travel,
So... at £8 a megabyte I could hop on a Virgin Atlantic 747, nip home and back again for less cost than downloading a movie in the USA - That is so wrong, or am I missing something?
As far as I recall a voice call from landline uses 64kb/s which works out at just under half a mega byte per minute. Charging way more than this for data is just a scam.
text messages are a moneyspinner too if you look at the cost per bit transmitted!
Am I missing something here?
Make a call from Germany to the UK and the call has to be routed across borders, so I can understand some cost increase.
Surely Internet traffic is simple thrown out onto the net wherever the user is, so why should the cost change by more than a small handling fee?
No mention of T-mobile?
For me at least they do this nice deal, where you can get 50MB roaming data for £10, which works out to something like 20p a MB.
Still a lot (and I agree the roaming costs are outrageous for what they are) but far better than what the others offer. I got a 1 month rolling contract while touring across Europe* and the above deal was excellent (I used the roaming charges primarily for email, the odd web lookup and my GPS, as it pulls map data via a net connection if it hasn't been to an area before).
Something to consider for those of you who are on T-mobile (this is one of their booster packages, and is available on all the contracts of theirs I've used).
* Only applies to EU countries, When we drove through Switzerland for e.g, the rate was 7.98 per MB, but they send you a sms to warn you, so I just turned off my phone while there.
Orange have a fairly decent (by roaming standards) package that our guys use when on the continental mainland. It sits dormant on your phone, activates the first time you use it each day, charges you £3 for that day, and you get 50MB to use until midnight, when it goes dormant again until it's needed. It's proved to be more than enough for our guys checking e-mail, viewing webpages, finding directions and so on.
Outside the EU, on the other hand, you're pretty much stiffed. Not only do you have to subscribe to a minimum 30-day roaming subscription (which they always "forget" to remove from your account) which costs a horrendous amount for little data, but the buggers pro-rata it!
It's a joke - my Vodafone tariff already gives me 25Mb per day in the EU for just £2 a day or £10 a month (it's included free on some of the larger tariffs). Think in the US it's something like £5 or £10 per day for 25Mb - still a lot, lot more reasonable than the other networks I think.
£10 for 50Mb in the EU is not really what you would call cheap in domestic terms - it's still massively expensive when (in the UK) Vodafone give me 3Gb/mo for £10.
Still at least it's better than it was. I find Vodafone offer the best EU and 'rest of world' rates - some of the others are similar on EU but US and 'rest of world' were a lot more expensive.
Obstacle to cuts is high local prices
A friend based in Brussels continues to use a UK contract. He says that used carefully, even with roaming charges, a UK provider is cheaper than a Belgian one.
Doubtless, lobbying by various countries' major providers has blunted the EU appetite for cuts -- which should be mandatory, fulfilling the EU objective of, well, a COMMON market.
Last time this topic arose we saw how Vodaphone had been staffing up with ex-Dept of Trade people. Presumably to help them thwart attempts to interrupt the cash stream from confused UK holidaymakers faced with ruinous bills for daring to cross an EU border with phone in hand.
Unbundling will be the key
Tony, you're right that the prices still bear little relation to costs involved providing them. But the proposed changes do include new provisions that have learned from previous regulation. The wholesale cap on data roaming was supposed to lead to lower prices for users. As this was rarely the case there is now a cap for users as well. More importantly the Commission is aggressively pushing unbundling so that you are not forced to choose between what the regulated best deal and something your operator cooks up that might be better value depending on how you use it. It will soon be possible to pick up a SIM abroad and keep your number or simply choose another provider of data services. Assuming the customer experience is smooth enough that will definitely encourage competition and drive down prices.
Finally, the regulation is also the result of compromise. The telco's lobby effectively through the national governments against any caps: Viviane Reding and the European Parliament originally wanted the same costs abroad as in your home network. It's progress even if it's slow. And pity those poor souls outside the EU who see no such regulation.
Looks like I will continue to buy my phones sim/contract free and buying local PAYG sims.
I got stung by a 1500 Euro data bill around 3 years ago, while roaming in Sweden on a German Vodafone contract. I just logged on to online banking to transfer some funds on the fly, 46MB(ish) around 32 Euro per MB! I tried to argue with Vodafone that this was not on, but they insisted that it wasn't their charges, but was in fact the charges of the Swedish network passed on.
shortly after paying, I got a sim free phone and PAYG sim and Ive never looked back!
This at least should prevent that kind of shock happening to people but its still too expensive to even use your phone for normal everyday browsing.