EU data roaming rates slashed


T-Mobile, O2 and Orange have announced cuts in European data roaming charges, as well as on texts and calls, but 3 has said they do not go far enough.

The cuts have been announced just ahead of the European Commission’s deadline of July 1 for networks to reduce prices or face regulation.

T-Mobile cut European mobile data roaming charges by up to 80 per cent on July 1 and will introduce roaming call and text packages in August.

Mobile broadband cost fell from £7.50 per MB to £1.50. From August 30, the cost of sending a text from EU countries will be cut 40p to 25p.

On August 1, T-Mobile will introduce ‘Euro Holiday Boosters’, comprising minutes and texts in roaming packages.

The bundles will cost £5, £10, £20 and £30, and respectively give £7.50, £15, £30 and £45 of roaming minutes and texts. Customers will also be able to roam on partner Wi-Fi hotspot networks at £1 for 10 minutes.

In a similar move, Orange has introduced a series of European roaming bundles for calls, text and data.

‘Travel Text’, an SMS roaming bundle, will be available to all contract customers. Travel Text 30 gives customers 30 texts for £6, a 33 per cent saving compared to the standard SMS rate.

Travel Text 100 gives 100 texts for £15, a saving of 50 per cent. For business customers, SMS bundles start at £5.11 for 30 texts or £12.77 for 100 texts.

Businesses can also purchase ‘Travel Data’ at £5 for 3MB, saving 44 per cent off the current rate, or £12 for 10MB, saving 60 per cent.

The network is also introducing a ‘Favourite Countries’ voice roaming offer.

From £5 a month, customers can select one out of five or all five countries that Orange customers call from most – France, Spain, Greece, Ireland and Belgium – with discounted rates when calling anywhere in the EU from those countries.

The bundle enables customers to benefit from up to 100 minutes of inclusive incoming calls from anywhere in Europe, and up to 100 minutes of making calls to anywhere in Europe at a discounted rate of 29p, a saving of 20 per cent on the standard rate.

O2 has also cut European roaming costs on texts and data on both prepay and contract.

Prepay customers texting the UK from Europe now pay 25p per text instead of 49p, and putting prepay in line with contract (which remains unchanged).

Data charges have been cut by 80 per cent per megabyte on prepay, from £15 to £3, which is also the new price on contract (a 57 per cent fall from £7.05).

Contract customers can also buy roaming data bundle, further reducing the cost per MB by £1. A 10 MB bundle costs £20, and 50 MB costs £50.

But 3 last week said customers were still paying too much for roaming data.

A 3 spokesperson said: "The prices are still thousands of times those of our domestic rates.

"For the first time this summer you will see hundreds of thousands of ordinary consumers exposed to high roaming prices when they use their mobile broadband overseas.

"Just as with the EC’s successful intervention in wholesale voice roaming, there is a clear case for the EC to act now in the data roaming wholesale market."