I'm still not satisfied with the situation of mobile data fees, things got
better over the time. Either flat or payable volume plans are available now in
most countries but "UMTS-by-Call" is still too expensive anyway and if you plan
to use mobile data on your smartphone or Notebook, you better have a data plan
Nevertheless, as soon as you leave your country - which is quite usual here in
Europe - you leave your home network data plan on the border and if you are on a
foreign network abroad, it can cost you the right arm to use mobile data - most
likely it's even more expensive than your hotel room. Why I'm talking about it
now? Well, I'm currently in the final preparation for my trip to Barcelona where
the Mobile World Congress happens next week.
Like the years before, also this year the::unwired will report live from the
Mobile World Congress (formerly known as the 3GSM World Congress) and while my
hotel and the press center have both Internet access, there are some good
reasons why you need Internet access in between. So I've again checked the data
roaming fees of my main carrier (O2 Germany) and compared it to my second option
Vodafone WebSessions which Vodafone introduced last year. The Vodafone
WebSessions concept isn't the cheapest one but at least you know what you get
and what you have to pay: in international roaming, for 14.95 Euro your get 24
hours web access or 50 MB of included volume - whatever happens first and you
have to prepay WebSessions. So you don't get a surprise after you are back.
14.95 Euro for 50 MB only you might think? Well, with O2, which isn't offering
anything like WebSessions yet, I have to pay insane 460.80 Euro international
roaming charges (only) for 50 MB plus 50 Cent per MB which is 485.80 in total!
With Vodafone's WebSessions, I get around 1620 MB/more than a GB for the same
price; quite a difference and quite enough to cover 5 days of work!!!
Sorry but these international roaming fees are totally insane and no wonder
that the mobile data business cases of the carriers aren't working at all. While
Telefónica has announced to lower the international roaming data prices in
summer for Telefónica and O2 customers, it's not yet available for me and anyway
- O2 still plans to charge 50 Euro for 50 MB (compared to 14.95 for 50 MB from
Vodafone). Same for T-Mobile which
is expected to announce something similar next week during the Mobile World
Congress as well and frankly - it's long time overdue.
How can carriers expect that any of their customers are willing to pay that
money for mobile data during international roaming? Anyway - I made my decision
and this decision is called Vodafone WebSessions. As I said - it's still not
cheap but I have to use it only if I'm out of the press center or hotel which
should - hopefully - good enough anyway.
Cheers ~ Arne