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New EU roaming charge limits now in effect
Sunday 01 July 2012 14:26:25 by Andrew Ferguson

The EU has been working on getting lower pricing for calls and data roaming across Europe for some time, and today 1st July 2012 a new set of charges including a €50 daily charge cap come into effect.

Current and proposed retail price caps (excluding VAT)
  Current 1st July 2013 1st July 2014
Data (per MB) 70 cents 45 cents 20 cents
Voice calls made (per minute) 29 cents 24 cents 19 cents
Voice calls received (per minute) 8 cents 7 cents 5 cents
SMS (per SMS) 9 cents 8 cents 6 cents

While the price caps for different elements of a mobile service are welcome, it still means that a 20 MB app for your smartphone could cost £11.50 to download to your phone when abroad in the EU.

The various UK mobile operators are currently promoting a number of deals for using your phone abroad, and many of these revolve around a daily fee to get reduced prices, but be wary, as the clauses can include an opt-out from the €50 EU roaming cap and the per MB limit of 70 cents. For example Vodafone users can opt for a £3/day charge, that lets them make calls and use data at the same price as in the UK, using bundles minutes or data allowances. This will encourage people to leave data roaming enabled on their smart phone, and if you have no WiFi networks available, you might use up your bundled data allowance very quickly, and then run up high excess usage charges.

Orange offer a £3 per day data bundle, that buys you 30MB of usage, which opts you out of the €50 cap, and you are opted out of the per MB cost cap too, as they charge £3.07/MB for usage above 30MB.

three offers its Euro Internet Pass which for £5 a day allows you to use as much data as you like up until midnight (UK time). You have to remember to renew the pass each day, and apparently a text is sent before the previous pass expires.

O2 offers O2 Travel which is £1.99 a day, giving a 25MB bundle, but again excess usage charges will apply, but they cap you at £40 per day, you can opt for a higher cap of £120, which is apparently enough for 200MB of data.

T-Mobile offers Internet Travel Boosters, which last for 30 days, and cost from £1 for 3MB to 200MB for £35. Update 16:30 We made a mistake, the 20MB for £140 in original item referred to outside the EU, e.g. Belarus, Bolivia, Fiji and Tajikistan to name a few places.

The moral still seems to be, make sure where you are staying on holiday has WiFi available, and even if it costs €5 or €10 and you want to do more than read email and send a few tweets this may be the cheapest option for broadband on holiday. If you do elect for a roaming package from your mobile provider, do double check whether picking that package does opt you out of the EU limits before you leave the UK.


Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
I got bitten last week, my provider's help forum said to turn on data roaming in order to make calls (duff info) so being the newbie I am I did that, and within half an hour the iphone in my pocket had cleaned out all my credit and nothing would work. I then had to find wifi to top it up. Once bitten. Great to hear something is being done to protect the people, but probably the best thing is like you say, stick to wifi and keep data roaming firmly off. Or buy a cheap unlocked phone in the country you visit and a local payg sim.
Posted by ian9outof10 over 5 years ago
The T-Mobile system is the best, if you ask me. As it's a hard cap, and once it's gone, you get disconnected and have to opt-in again. But the pricing is still far too high.

What these providers don't seem to grasp, is that they would make more money, if their charges were lower. For example, I'd pay, say, a day/week/month rate, were one available, for a decent amount of data. As it stands, if the cost is too high, I simply don't use data, which means they make less money.
Posted by adamtemp over 5 years ago
O2 cap data per month not per day on the non o2 travel option I think this article needs some indepth investigation as it is not charged above 25mb you get warned before being charged the excess data . O2 have not published the eu rates on the comparison page for travel still pre 1st july figures for eu. Remembering that non eu countries are still at the higher data rates but the same £40 cap at 50mb per month or £120 200mb a month.
Posted by adamtemp over 5 years ago
my second link above should have been to the t&c for o2 travel pay monthly
Posted by lurkio over 5 years ago
Those T-Mobile numbers are nonsense. Their 200MB booster costs £35
Posted by otester over 5 years ago
Just buy a sim abroad, much easier.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
On T-Mobile I made a mistake and misread their legal section, where all the zones were rolled up into one block of text.

Updating article now.
Posted by c_j_ over 5 years ago
"Just buy a sim abroad, much easier."

Couple of potential snags: don't you usually need a valid address in the country to register and activate(which some countries+operators will check, for "crime prevention" reasons)? Doesn't it also help if you can speak the local lingo?

It's not clear to me whether the details in the article refer to contract prices, PAYG prices, or both. Is it obvious to everyone else?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
The EU caps refer to both, I just browsed around the providers sites, usually looking at monthly pay packages rather than PAYG
Posted by vicdupreez over 5 years ago
Three and Vodafone will unlock your iPhone, (or any phone I would imagine) for £15. Then just buy a local PAYG sim with data...
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

Only if they do data retention (like Spain), then you just give them your drivers license/passport and they fill in a slip.

Most places tend to speak some english so they usually know want, otherwise just memorise a few key terms.
Posted by webchem over 5 years ago
Can someone please explain to me why these charges exist?

If I am with a company in the UK surely I should just be able to switch to the equivalent company in the EU? Isn't that one of the main aims of the EU, to standardise this kind of thing? They did afterall manage the straight banana so surely we can sort this? Though getting a PAYG sim might be the answer.

I was stung recently despite a package. If there is a real reason why this is so ridiculously expensive, then please lets have it, but isn't this just another excuse to rip off the consumer?
Posted by biggeoffc over 5 years ago
Surely these new EU regs were introduced to protect the consumer, why is it even possible for the service providers to offer something that takes away those rights?
Posted by adamtemp over 5 years ago
I see that o2 have now ammended there pages to reflect the correct charges.

So for the 1.99 you get 25mb data at 7p a mb and pay a one off connection fee of 50p per call and it costs nothing to recieve the remainder of the call or uses your tariff mins for outgoing calls so outgoing calls longer than 1 and 3/4 mins are cheaper than base 28p per min and incomming calls longer than 7mins are again cheaper than base 7p a min.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

At the moment the data is routed back through your provider to keep your original number.
Posted by mikehiow over 5 years ago
I recently returned from Ibiza where I used a whopping 2GB of data while I was there.

I must say it was quite a novelty, since the last time I went abroad I was fretting about it costing £9 to use 3mb for a quick peak at nokia maps!

I'm with three and 10 days away with 2GB of usage cost me £5. There was never any chance of going over seing as they disable/redirect all internet traffic after midnight, and renewing the £5 a day pass is as simple as clicking a link on the redirected page.

Posted by mikehiow over 5 years ago
Tethering is banned and streaming anything is so heavily shaped it may as well be disabled, both issues can be solved with a VPN though :)
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