News of caps on mobile data roaming charges will be welcomed by those using their mobile broadband as they travel across Europe, but even with the new caps it could cost £1000 per GB, so the only way to avoid unduly large bills is to leave your mobile broadband dongle safely stored back at home.
Some people accept the costs of roaming with their mobile broadband dongle since it means they can check email, but it only takes a small software update for Windows, AV software or some other software to chew its way through 20 to 30MB.
BBC News Online covers the news, and highlights the most useful part which is mobile operators will have to allow the consumer to set a spending cap and warn the customer when they reach 80% of their spending limit. The 1 euro per MegaByte (MB) cap applies from July 2009, dropping to 80 cents in July 2010 and 50 cents in July 2011. The capped prices only apply to roaming charges within the EU, outside the EU charges can be as high as £7 per MB.
If going abroad it is always worth checking with your mobile data provider, since some have deals where you can buy access in 24 hours blocks, e.g. Vodafone offers 200MB for a 24 hour period at £8.50.
With the enforced reduction in roaming data costs, there is a risk that providers may recoup this lost revenue by raising other charges.