Data Roaming Charges Curbed

1st July 2010

Written by Alex Deutsch

After months of waiting, it’s finally here. The great British summer has arrived and not a moment too soon. The long coats and umbrellas have been replaced by short trousers and hats. Gloves and scarfs have given way to flip-flops and sun-glasses. No more watching television by an open fire, let’s play Swingball by a sizzling BBQ.

The word “HoliStay” has been thrown about a lot recently. For those unfamiliar with this saying, it’s a word to describe those who have decided to stay in the UK for their holidays, opting to go to Bournemouth, or Blackpool instead of Majorca or Tenerife. Some people choose this option because of the immense cost of going abroad, particularly the expense of calling home to let the people you’ve left at home know what a great time you’re having.

Of course there’s an answer for that, Planet Numbers’ Cheap International Call service – calling abroad for as little as 1p/minute. You all already know about that though… Don’t you?

Over the last few years, social networking sites, such as Facebook, have revolutionised the way we share what we are doing with our friends and family. Those who have you as a friend can see what you’re doing at the touch of the button, which saves the hassle of writing postcards to everyone and save a huge amount on your phone bill.

For one German traveler, however, posting on Facebook was not as cost effective as he’d have hoped. When he returned home, he faced a bill of over £37,593 for his Data Roaming charges. A UK student was charged £9,000 for accessing the internet on his smart-phone while abroad for one month. These charges are shocking and something needs to be done about it.

Thankfully, something has been done. The EU have now curbed the charges that smart-phone users could potentially accumulate, making the shock bills a thing of the past. “There will be no more bill shocks for tourists or business travellers surfing the internet with smart phones or laptops while in another EU country,” said the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes.

Under the rules:

* Operators must send details of data roaming charges to customers when they enter another EU country
* A warning when 80% of the limit is used must be sent by text message, e-mail, or pop-up window on a computer
* Customers should be cut off when they reach the agreed limit or the default maximum of 50 euros.

There’s good news for holiday makers phoning home too. They will also see a fall in the maximum tariff when making a call, from 43 cents (37p) a minute to 39 cents (33p).

The existing top limit of 19 cents (16p) a minute when receiving a call will also drop to 15 cents (13p).