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Expensive way to download TV
Monday 03 March 2008 12:57:55 by Andrew Ferguson

Having broadband connectivity no matter where you go can prove expensive as one couple found after the wife had started the download of four episodes of Friends via her husbands mobile phone. Unfortunately the downloads did not complete while in the UK but when the phone was roaming in Germany resulting in a £11,000 bill from Vodafone.

This should act as a reminder to anyone with a data connection via a mobile device to ensure that large downloads are suspended or cancelled while abroad. Though this can be difficult to achieve with the amount of software that auto-updates these days.

Stories like this fall right into the lap of Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner for information, society and media who is pressuring the mobile companies to reduce the cost of roaming with respect to data transfer. Certainly it should be easy enough for mobile providers to append to the various 'welcome' text messages you receive when roaming abroad, details of data charges on the network you are using.

Comments

Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Instead of some EU monkey harping on surely the better advice would be read your contract terms and the pricing... Stupid woman in this story obviously didnt.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
So one assumes you know what your price per MB when roaming is on your mobile?
Posted by mixt over 9 years ago
What amuses me most about this story is Vodafone themselves. They actually let someone clock up an 11 grand phone bill, no questions asked. This is not the first story I have read concerning them with issues such as this. They should have systems in place which either block the phone from further usage once a certain limit is reached (this could be defined by the end user) or have a safe guard system in place which flags up such accounts so the end user can be informed before any more damage is done. In my opinion, this story is laughable! :-)
Posted by meldrew over 9 years ago
I certainly have sympathy for the downloader but cannot imagine any pricing plan that could cost £3000 an episode for Friends. Having said that I must question the sanity of anyone who wants to do that at all.

All phone tariffs are a nightmare - just have a look at the variety from a "simple" BT landline.
Posted by martinsaunders over 9 years ago
meldrew: are you questioning the sanity of people who watch Friends? ;)

Glad to see such public own-goal for a mobile provider and their ridiculous roaming charges, especially for a company like Vodafone who own most of the networks you roam on.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
No, Carpet, the sensible thing is not to use "mobile" internet access. The prices are universally ripoffs.
Posted by jchamier over 9 years ago
Dawn_Falcon, I disagree, mobile internet access in your home country is usually OK, especially if you use T-mobile web-n-walk or similar. The problems occur in the EU, which is a free trading bloc, but treated as international by mobile networks.

Imagine in the US if you were 'roaming' when you left your state - that was the case, but went in the 90s with Sprint's "national one-rate plans" and was quickly copied.

I agree, Voda should have had a limit, what if the owners credit rating wasn't that good?
Posted by mitchja over 9 years ago
The problem is the the networks dont get the roaming usage data passed to them until a few days after you have actually been roaming. It takes some time to filter though the system. It's down to the roaming partner to pick up on things like this but they dont care as they are just passing on the charge to another provider
Posted by martinsaunders over 9 years ago
I can well believe what Mitchja says is true, but it's such an easy thing to fix. The operators have to do is communicate a 'cap' as part of the initial acceptance of the user of the foreign network.

I suspect regulation is the only way this would happen, as it wouldn't be in the commercial interests of the operators to implement this.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"Imagine in the US if you were 'roaming' when you left your state " - doesn't take much imagination, seen happen. Going out of a city can put you into roaming, as can flipping to analogue when digitial coverage fades out.

All depends on the tariff, the operator, the coverage etc.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"So one assumes you know what your price per MB when roaming is on your mobile?"
Nope cos i dont have a mobile service that does things like mentioned in this story... I do however have the sense to know its contract and charges made for various numbers and locations i make a call from or to.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Imagine in the US if you were 'roaming' when you left your state - that was the case, but went in the 90s with Sprint's "national one-rate plans" and was quickly copied.
I agree, Voda should have had a limit, what if the owners credit rating wasn't that good?"
Verizon as an example in the USA do not have limits on some services, if for example a USA person travels to canada and downloads like it is going out of fashion they are charged per Mb also (again obviously depends on the phones package). Its clearly a users responsibility to check rates.
Posted by UKSMS over 9 years ago
Posted by mitchja
The problem is the the networks dont get the roaming usage data passed to them until a few days.

To be honest thats irrelevant. If you tell your provider your going abroad they will quite happily sell you a data tarrif ( especially on buiness ) that will give you say 50-100 meg abroad for peanuts. They still make profit on that so their data rate is NOTHING like the £10-£30 per meg that they charge BUT because data is seen as a "Additional Service" unlike texts and calls there not rearlly subject to regulation.
Posted by UKSMS over 9 years ago
Nowhere in the world will you pay that much for data and before all this "price simplification" came into play using the countried local services are a joke.

When we first had roaming if you phoned somebody in the same country you paid the local rates ( wuite rightly). Now the call goes back to the UK and then back to the country again and you get raped twice as much and it quite simply isn't acceptable.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
CARPET - And the best rate is "don't use the stupid ripoff called "mobile data" in the first place". It's SO simple.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"CARPET - And the best rate is "don't use the stupid ripoff called "mobile data" in the first place". It's SO simple."

Which is why i dont sign up to these stupid mobile phone deals to get the latest wacky iphone like gadget or free ps3 or other tripe only to find the service costs a fortune :D
It has to be said though talk about stupid, downloading 4 tv episodes via a mobile service and not only downloading them but starting it just before hubbie goes out of the country, maybe this dumb woman thinks phone calls all over the world are free also LOL
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
here is my question, we get told repeatedly ofcom dont action on individual cases. Whats different about this one? is it because a exec was a victim?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
^^^ more likely because hubbie is a "city executive" thats cried like a baby to the "EU commissioner" and probably other contacts he has from his high flying city exec role. They have then twisted ofcoms arm until they conformed and promised to look at things... Again a case that runs to the core of this dirty government of... Look after those that may be able to do you a favour and royally (you know what) everyone else. What a shocker!!! (sarcasm off)
Posted by brett7 over 9 years ago
The information available to the user on roaming rates and recent usage does need to be improved. I found after higher than expected rates roaming in Australia that Vodafone could not even tell me what rate per MB they had charged me(!), leaving me with no way to verify if they had made any mistakes in their billing...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Vodafone could not even tell me what rate per MB they had charged me"
If thats true i wouldnt had paid them a penny, as you have a legal right to know what they are charging you for a service. If they cant say or dont know thats there problem to solve.
Posted by mikekoi over 9 years ago
I say take a PAYG and leave your "friends" at home. You can but the series on DVD anyway,
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