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Vodafone shocks data users with roaming price rise

25MB of data could cost 400 per cent more

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Vodafone is to change how it charges phone and laptop users to connect to mobile broadband services overseas. Its customers are not best pleased - heavy data users could see prices rise fivehold.

From 15 June, data roaming in Europe will be billed at £1 per megabyte for the first 5MB, then £5 for each extra 5MB used.

That's when you use your phone. If you connect with a laptop using USB dongle or built-in mobile broadband adaptor, the rates are £10 for the first 50MB then a further £10 for each 50MB used on top of that.

Vodafone says that customers can opt for a €50 (£43) monthly payment cap, ensuring they pay no more than that amount, though once the limit is reached you won't be able to use the carrier's data network until the following month.

Outside Europe, Vodafone's charges are even higher. Using a phone, you will pay £3 per megabyte for the first 5MB then £15 per extra 5MB transferred. Laptop owners will pay £30 for the first 50MB and then £30 for each extra 50MB they use.

Currently, phone owners pay £5 a day for up to 25MB of data in Europe, or £15 for the same amount elsewhere in the world. Laptop users pay £10 a day for 50MB of data in Europe, or £30 when logging from other nations.

Vodafone's new pricing favours low-level users because they should pay per megabyte now rather than buying up front a large data allowance they may not need. Use 3MB in Europe and you only pay £3, for example. Currently, you pay £5.

But anyone using more than that will lose out. A full 25MB of data will now cost £25 - a 400 per cent increase over what they currently pay.

Vodafone told Reg Hardware that the increase will affect only a small minority of users, though that will come as no consolation to anyone who does use a lot of data while roaming.

"The vast majority of our customers use less than 5MB," a company spokesman said, "and they will pay less now." ®

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