New EU legislation (which came in to force on the 1st July), capping the charge of roaming charges for calls and text messages and the wholesale of mobile broadband has been welcomed by consumers and industry commentators alike. However despite 3 and Vodafone recently announcing price drops for using their mobile broadband services abroad Rob Webber, Commercial Director at comparison site Broadband Expert believes that mobile broadband consumers are still receiving a raw deal.
Webber explains that many Brits have already run up huge bills whilst using mobile broadband devices abroad including one customer who received a bill for in excess of GBP20,000 earlier this year. According to Webber, whilst Vodafone may currently be leading the way in making mobile broadband usage abroad more affordable, it is still prohibitively expensive particularly for any activity involving downloading large amounts of data. Webber explains that downloading an episode of EastEnders whilst abroad inside the EU could range from around GBP65 to GBP1,600, dependent on which mobile broadband provider you are with.
The cost of downloading an episode of EastEnders (around 320MB) on BBC iPlayer outside of the EU costs between GBP2,400 (T-Mobile) and GBP194.87 (Vodafone) and between GBP1,600 (Virgin Mobile) and GBP64.87 (Vodafone) in EU countries.
Webber is urging all mobile broadband providers to follow Vodafone's lead of scrapping roaming charges for mobile calls and lowering mobile data charges by bringing down the cost of mobile broadband use abroad substantially. Webber does note that progress is being made, citing recent steps by the EU to introduce a 50 Euros bill cap (which can be raised by consent from the customer) to limit what has been termed 'bill shock' as a big step in the right direction.
Webber Advises those who do plan to use their mobile broadband abroad to check with their provider before travelling, as some providers do have bolt-on options which are considerably cheaper.