Orange to impose overseas data cap to beat bill shock
Pitches pre-pay bundles at roamers too
Orange wants to make roaming less of an ordeal, today saying it will bundle voice, texts and data into a single, pay-as-you-go style package to make it easier to charge for using phones overseas.
The new packages will allow punters to buy airtime, SMS allowances and volumes of date in bulk before travelling. Orange said the bundles are aimed at "occasional roamers".
So, a package bundling ten minutes of voice calls, ten text messages and 10MB of data could set you back up €5 (£4.20), Orange said.
Orange already sells this kind of bundle in Spain, Belgium and Romania, but promised to bring them to the UK in June.
The cellco will launch an Android app to help users track their network usage while overseas.
It will also introduce a data usage cap for travel outside of the EU, where a mandatory cap is already in place, imposed by European telecoms regulators to prevent Europeans suffering 'bill shock' - excessive charges incurred by using smartphones and 3G dongles overseas.
The wider cap is set to cut data off when more than €130 (£110) has been spent on data, though users will be warned of the impending break when they've spent €100 (£85). ®
"So, a package bundling ten minutes of voice calls, ten text messages and 10MB of data could set you back up €5 (£4.20), Orange said."
So will this bundle replace the current £3 for 30Mb for 24 hours that they currently offer (provided you text them to opt in)? My cynical side supposes it will, meaning 30Mb of data will cost ~ £12.60 instead. This might be useful to some people, but when I'm abroad I don't make many calls but do want to use data.
Also, I'm sorry Orange (and co), imposing a data cap while abroad is not the solution to the hugely overpriced data tariffs that you seem to be describing it as. £3 per Mb (or £6 if in the US) is not reasonable but heaven forbid you slash your profits. Data doesn't even need to be routed back to the UK, surely it could just be dumped out onto the Internet at the local provider.
Modern smart phones really need data to work. When you're abroad even more than at home you're likely to want to look for restaurants or maps or use translation tools or ...
If a mobile network ever works out that it can probably make more money charging a sensible amount for overseas data and encouraging people to use it than charging an unjustified amount and offering to cripple the connection with a cap, it will probably become the market leader at a stroke.
Re: Re: Something smells fishy.
Quite. You should be able to get around a year of domestic broadband (fixed or mobile) for around £110 so quite why anyone should be able to rack up an equivalent bill on their holidays is beyond everyone but mobile network shareholders.
Re: Global operator
I think you answered your own question. The reason it has not been done is because it would "quickly cause the price of roaming to come crashing down" and "the incumbents wouldn't be able to compete". And since the incumbents own the underlying infrastructure...
I'm actually quite surprised that there isn't a "global" (or at least US/EU/other-parts-of-the-somewhat-developed-world) operator by now. It would be an instant hit with travelling businesspeople and would quickly cause the price of roaming to come crashing down otherwise the incumbents wouldn't be able to compete.
As virtual mobile operators like GiffGaff, Tesco and whatnot seem to be quite easy to set up, I wonder why no-one has done it yet?
Data doesn't even need to be routed back to the UK ???
Unfortunately you are quite wrong here.
The mobile carriers have to route all the data back to the home network for two important (not to the customer) reasons.
1) So that your government can be sure they can snoop on you without a warrant or your permission, how are they going to do that if all your traffic doesn't go through a facility within their jurisdiction?
2) So that the mobile carrier can dick about with your data and do things like embed you mobile number in the HTTP headers so they can get in the billing stream. If they are not in the billing stream how are they going to keep their dirty little paws in your pocket? If you just "get to the Internet" then you have realised their worst fear and turned them into what they really are, just a dumb commoditised pipe.
The fix to this is easy, I have a wallet full of local PAYG SIM cards for all the countries Vodatheft want to rob me for (i.e. those that Ms Reding didn't fix such as the USA). I put the PAYG with the local number (which all the people there want to call me on anyway) into my "smart" phone and put the VodaSIM into a cheap Nokia dumb phone so people can still call my UK number.