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Euro mobile data best buys

As new rules come in, we compare the carriers

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Product Round-up From today, European carriers will not be able to charge you more than €50 a month for data you've sent and received over their networks while travelling abroad, unless you've agreed otherwise with your service provider.

The move is the result of legislation enacted in 2009 to prevent mobile phone users receiving horrendous bills after accessing data services while roaming. With networks charging as much as £5 per megabyte of data transferred, rather too many punters have come home to bills totalling many thousands of pounds.

Stick to a few emails and basic web pages and you might not be badly off. But now we're all used to downloading music and even movies, taking part in Skype video calls, and updating Facebook throughout the day, our use of data links on the move has skyrocketed.

Networks may have contacted some or all of their customers to ask them if they want a higher cut-off point, but the EU rules state that, from today, if no agreement has been reached, that €50 limit stands.

Networks must warn you, most likely by text message, when you're nearing that limit.

Here are how the UK networks compare on the roaming packages they now offer:

O2

O2 charges £3 per megabyte in Europe, and £6/MB elsewhere, to use data services on your phone. O2 said it will send a text alert when you've spent £20 and again when you reach £40. You'll pay no more than £40, but you'll be able to use up to 50MB of data.

You can ask O2 to up the limit to £120 and 200MB, and it recommends you do so before you travel.

Mobile broadband users on contracts pay the same rates, but can get one of a range of Data Abroad bolt-ons which bundle 10MB for £20 (£2/MB) or 50MB of £40 (£1/MB). They last for a month.

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