A-roaming we will go
Good news for travellers: roaming charges will be capped by the European Commission from July 1st.
And it’s about time too. As anyone who has ever travelled overseas will know, a dodgy t shirt, a dose of sunburn and a straw donkey aren’t the only things you can bring home from holiday. There’s also the inevitable shock bill.
You know the one – so expensive it should come in a gilt-edged envelope. It leaves you feeling vaguely hard done-by, even if you were expecting a considerable dent in your pocket.
The most hair raising one I ever had was for a weekend in Italy where I communicated mostly by text message and hadn’t quite figured out how addictive it was checking email on my phone.
Considering my entire bill for a month at the time was about €80, running up €60 worth of charges in three days for a few texts was a bit of a shock. There was a swift change of network after that.
The new rules will not only limit the charge for incoming and outgoing calls, it will also limit the amount networks can charge for data roaming and sending text messages, with further price falls due by 2011.
The cheaper charges have been broadly welcomed – even by one of the networks, Three Ireland.
It’s about time the networks were forced into cheaper roaming charges. While moves have been made by some of our networks to cut out roaming charges between Ireland and the UK, and make using your phone abroad that bit cheaper, others still have a way to go.
The European networks were given a chance to fix the situation themselves before the Commission stepped in. But price drops didn’t go far enough.
It’s particularly irritating when you get charged a small fortune for using a sister network of your own operator, something that mobile firms have finally figured out.
If we all stopped using our phones abroad – unrealistic for most people – the networks wouldn’t make half as much money. So it’s in their interests to encourage us to use our phones more by dropping the prices.
Something to think about before the complaints about regulationin the sector begin.