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THOUGHT: Can someone please lower the International Roaming Data fees?
Posted by Arne Hess - on Monday, 04.02.08 - 11:51:06 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 12800x
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While 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 booked.
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


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