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World Cup scores roaming bonanza for operators

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Football fans traveling to Germany will spend an estimated €36.5m on mobile calls, text and video messages during this month's World Cup.

The anticipated spending adds up to a roaming bonanza for mobile operators, according to analysts at Informa Telecoms and Media.

Its estimate is based on around one million football fans clocking up an average of €36.50 in roaming charges during their stay. A typical roamer is expected to send eight text messages, make 10 voice calls and receive around six calls during their visit, it reckons. An average of one data session and an MMS message per punter is also anticipated.

This assessment is based on roaming usage patterns and pricing trends due to be examined in detail in a forthcoming Informa report, Global Mobile Roaming, due out in Q3 2006.

"Recent price cuts announced by operators such as Orange and Vodafone are going to benefit fans of teams inside the European Union but it's worth remembering that 21 of the teams in the tournament are from non-European countries. They will be paying a lot more to call home than European supporters," Informa Telecoms and Media chief research officer Mark Newman said.

"A Brazilian fan will be charged as much as €3.50 per minute to call Brazil from Germany - three times what it will cost a European supporter. Many may opt for purchasing local SIM cards or other alternative roaming solutions," he added.

As a result of these high charges, some fans may opt to stock up on local SIM cards or ditch the phone altogether in favour of email. ®

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