Bundles of fun but consumers urged to check them out before they roam
European Commission rules to limit the cost of mobile phone use abroad are good news for consumers, but mobile operator's tariffs seem likely to confuse people.
After being forced to cap the price they charge users to make calls, send texts and access the internet while abroad, the major operators have come up with hugely varying pricing bundles.
Now the maximum price for a call is now 29 euro cents (c) per minute, and will fall further to 24c in 2012 and 19c in 2014.
More importantly the price for downloading data abroad is now down to a maximum of 70c per megabyte, which will fall to 45c in 2013 and 20c in 2014. Operators must also alert customers travelling outside the EU when their data-download charges approach €50 (£39).
However, consumers are being advised to check their operator's bundles carefully.
Michael Phillips, managing director of price-comparison site Broadband Choices, told us: "Despite new roaming rate caps for the EU, charges can still quickly rack up if customers let their mobile phone usage go unchecked."
T-Mobile will block overseas internet usage unless the customer signs up for one of its internet travel-booster deals.
Vodafone customers can use their existing UK plan overseas if they pay an extra £3 a day, while Three UK users already enjoy an ‘all-you-can-eat' data tariff but will need to buy the Euro Internet Pass for £5.
There are hidden snags. If the data is not used up, Virgin Mobile's data passes are valid for three months but T-Mobile's bundles only have a 30-day shelf life.
People can check out the current tariffs on this table from from price comparision site, Broadband Choices.
Prices were accurate at time of going to press but Broadband Choices said it keeps an eye on changes and so it is wise to check its website for the latest updates.
|Prior to 1st July 2012||Post 1st July 2012|
|T-Mobile||£1 for 3MB 33p per MB||£1 for 3 MB 33p per MB||£5 for 3MB £1.66 per MB with bundle||£5 for 3MB £1.66 per MB with bundle||More info|
|Orange||£3.07 standard, from 10p with data bundle||£3 for 30MB 10p per MB||£6 for 30MB 20p per MB with bundle or £8 per MB standard rate||£6 for 30MB 20p per MB with bundle or £8 per MB standard rate||More info|
|Vodafone||£2 for 25MB £8p per MB||£8 per 100 MB 8p per MB OR £3 per day to use UK limit||£25 per 100MB 25p per MB||£25 per 100MB 25p per MB||More info|
|Three||£1.28||£5 per day for all your can eat data||£3.00||£3.00||More info|
|Virgin||£6 for 5MB £1.20 per MB||£3 for 5MB 60p per MB||£5.00||£5.00||More info|
|O2 - PAYG||£3.00 standard roaming||£1.99 for 25MB 8p per MB||£6.00||£6.00||More info|
Updating your subscription status