Eurocrats mandate maximum charge for data roaming
No more 'bill shock'?
From today, Europe's mobile phone networks must work with customers to prevent the use of mobile broadband while travelling from costing the Earth.
Roaming rules put in place by the European Union's Council of Ministers and the European Parliament in June 2009 oblige O2, Orange, Three, T-Mobile, Virgin Media, Vodafone and others to offer customers of a monthly limit beyond which punters will not be charged.
The EU suggested a €50 (£45) cut-off point, but networks are free to agree any other amount with their customers.
Customers who don't make a choice by 1 July will have a €50 limit imposed upon them.
The legislation was put in place to prevent so-called 'bill shock' where phone users accumulate massive bills while travelling in Europe and accessing the internet on roaming tariffs.
Recently, we reported the story of student William Harrison who clocked up almost £8000 in charges for using his UK Orange 3G dongle in France.
The EU's roaming rules limit the wholesale price of data to €1 per megabyte, though carriers are free to charge their customers more. Most, if not all of them, do.
Some networks charge as much as £5 per megabyte to access the internet overseas. Until today, download an 800MB movie and you'd be billed £4000.
Now, when you reach 80 per cent of your agreed limit, your carrier must warn you that you're nearing your cut-off point. When you hit the limit, data access will stop, but you won't end up with a bonkers bill - at least, not for data roaming. ®
Another clever idea from Brussels...
Yet another piece of good legislation coming out of Brussels... Who would have thunk it?
First they protect our privacy, now there passing regulations ot protect consumers... If this keeps up people might start believing that being part of Europe is a good thing after all... (but dont tell the politicians!)
Which of the networks is going to be the first to have a pan-European tariff ?
Let's face it, the main players pretty much have their fingers in every country. OK, I know it's seen as a cash cow, and nobody is desperate to cut their own profits, however perhaps more users would uses a little data at a respectable margin for the network if they knew there wasn't a danger of a €50 bill. And being the good network can only be good for business.
Go on - which network has the balls to set the trend .....
Suspect (as some articles on new roaming rates here already suggest) that the result will be that mobile networks will implement this by setting the cut-off at £0 and offer to sell you access at at a "per day/week" rate with a bundled data allowance. So, if you away for a week and wanted to be able to occasionally lookup something on a website then you may end up having to spend £30 on a 7-day 30MB bundle when in reality you only wanted to be able to download a few 100k on 2 or 3 days during the week.