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Vodafone announce cheaper roaming charges for Internet use
Thursday 02 July 2009 15:17:53 by John Hunt

Vodafone have released new mobile roaming charges for Internet use which will help make usage abroad more affordable. The new rates vary depending on whether you access via your phone or your laptop (presumably by a mobile broadband data contract).

Region Method of Access Cost per day
Zone 1 Phone £4.99 for each 25MB
Zone 1 Laptop £9.99 for each 50MB
Zone 2 Phone £14.99 for each 25MB
Zone 2 Laptop £29.99 for each 50MB

Zone 1 is made up of European countries (although a couple are missing) and Zone 2 the rest (see Vodafone press release for complete list).

The new charges (20p per MB if all usage is used) are much cheaper than previous prices of £4.99 per MB and are largely due to the introduction of EU wide rules on roaming charges. Any usage is per calendar day based on the UK timezone. At midnight UK time, a new £4.99 charge would be applied when you reach the first MB. Usage below a megabyte is charged per kilobyte- 100KB costing 50p.

Charges can still mount up quickly with online video often at a couple hundred megabytes for high quality streams. Users would be best to avoid using BBC iPlayer or similar services abroad. Also, it's worth ensuring that your laptop is up to date with security updates before leaving, and disabling auto-updates as large updates are sometimes made available which automatically download and can reach in to the hundreds of megabytes.


Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
0.20p per MB ? 20p or £0.20 per MB, shirley.

On a phone only. Twice as much on a laptop !
Posted by phil_cooke over 8 years ago
Zone 1 Laptop is wrong - thats £9.99 for each 50MB
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
"Users would be best to avoid using..." broadband at all, given the charges involved.
Posted by bosie over 8 years ago
Still much too expensive but look at the comparison: O2 want £73.50 for 25MB or £65 on a 10MB plan (£20 + £3 * 15MB).
Posted by amforbes over 8 years ago
Rip of britian at it's best.
Posted by citizenx over 8 years ago
What a con!

Who are these telcos to think they can charge you TWICE the price for the luxury of deciding which hardware you use to connect to the internet.

They can stick their tarrifs where the sun doesn't shine.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@CitizenX:The same telcos that charge an international call rate when making what is actually a local call at the time.

IOW you want to order a pizza from the shop in town but your mobile operator wants to charge you £2 a minute :)
Posted by nervous over 8 years ago
Totally agree Dawn. Wouldn't use mobile connection unless it was absolutely requiered, would rather use an Internet Cafe or a Pub or Eatery with free WiFi access.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Quite amusing that costs are double the price on a laptop for using the same network resources, etc. Nice bit of profit taking.
Posted by t22design over 8 years ago
I don't understand the phone/laptop distinction.

Can anyone explain?
Posted by Going_Digital over 8 years ago
The difference between phone and computer is entirely about profit for the mobile operator. By using a phone they expect you to be making calls and sending texts as well, there core business. If you use a laptop with USB dongle you may not ever use their phone service.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
operators like to promote smartphones and pay for services / content. Laptops are likely to be just using the connection to get to the internet.
Posted by therioman over 8 years ago
Those charges are extortion.

Just to clarify though on O2 Pricing, they do offer (Voda may as well) bolt ons to reduce costs. For example:

£19.58 for 10Mb data abroad (~£1.90/meg)
£48.95 for 50Mb data abroad (~£0.99/meg)

I know it isn't exactly much to use 50Mb but it makes a bit difference cost wise :-)

Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
OK so we know *why* they want to distinguish between a phone and a laptop.

But ***how*** (other than the contract) do they distinguish between a phone and a laptop?

Eg a user has a 3G phone with Bluetooth that can be configured for use as an Internerd connection for another device eg a laptop. (I have heard rumours these exist, not seen them working first hand).

When that phone uses data, how does the telco know what to charge?
Posted by TGVrecord over 8 years ago
I seem to recall one guy using his mobile linked to a laptop via usb cable to access the Internet and that was back in May 2008.
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
If you're going to allow use of cables or infrared, I was doing this back in 2000 or thereabouts with Win98, a Nokia 6150, and TDK Globalpulse software (no Connectivity Suite for me).

Meanwhile, back in the modern world...

If you buy a USB stick it's obvious you're not using it with a phone, so they know to charge the higher laptop tariff.

I haven't yet worked out how the telcos know whether you're using an app on a phone, or a laptop is using a phone as a "modem".

If you take a SIM out of a phone, can you put it in a USB stick?

Posted by KarlAustin over 8 years ago
They can tell because of the IMEI number. I don't know why anyone in their right mind would pay roaming charges - just buy a PAYG Dongle in the country you're in, job done and a hell of a lot cheaper.
Posted by farci over 8 years ago
I frequently use my HTC TyTnII with a USB cable to access internet in UKon O2. If I take my wife's Vodafone simcard to France using the new pricing does this mean I can access internet at UK prices?
Posted by TerFar over 8 years ago
Noting the error in the chart shown, the cost between laptop and mobile is identical. The reason for the difference is that with a mobile you are likely to surf a low data (mobile) version of many sites whereas with a laptop you are more likely to surf the normal sites.
However, that detracts from the main problem: it is FAR too expensive to consider using. Think of the data requirement driving through Russia using Google Earth linked to a Garmin SatNav. I shudder to think of the cost of three weeks driving!
Posted by HDRW over 8 years ago
"help make usage abroad more affordable" - not in this life! Who would find it affordable to splash out thirty quid (two months' broadband charges for a lot of people) for 50MB? Especially as it's difficult to judge the size of a web page (or received email) before it's reached you. And I presume when you hit 50.001MB that's another thirty quid...
The sooner the telcos stop seeing data as a way to print money, the better for everyone!
Posted by citizenx over 8 years ago
>The reason for the difference is that with a mobile you are likely to surf a low data (mobile) version of many sites whereas with a laptop you are more likely to surf the normal sites.

Nonsense. 25mb is 25mb however you use it, as is 50mb the same no matter how you use it.
Posted by jtevans over 8 years ago
Funny how no-one seems to bother about cost when sending "texts" (which I rarely do) - PAYG - 10p for 160chars max or £655 per MB or £16,384 per 25MB.

Makes the mark up on potato crisps look tiny.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
jtevans - Get skype, link skype to the mobile and send texts using a keyboard for 5.6p each :P
Posted by citizenx over 8 years ago
You're right, I don't care. SMS is a service i'm happy to pay for, is often bundled and isn't a huge cost.

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