Data roaming charges to match UK rates by 2015

Telefonica, the parent of O2, has said that demand for data roaming will drive prices down in the European Union to match domestic UK prices by the year 2015.

Prices for data roaming are currently astronomical, resulting in excessive bills when overseas. A standard package on any network with several gigabytes of monthly data usage will cost between £15 and £30. Currently, most networks charge £1 or higher for each megabyte downloaded when roaming, making a bill for a single gigabyte cost in the region of £1,000. This is an insane amount for anyone to pay.

The European Commission has called for data roaming prices to be lowered and made it a top priority under its Digital Agenda, but Telefonica's regulatory chief, Robert Mourik, believes that high demand will result in lower prices for Internet broadband usage while abroad.

“We think we can make more money by lowering our data prices,” Mourik told ZDNet. “We are doing tests in various countries, so it won't be the same in every country, but I am pretty certain that by 2015 data roaming rates will be more or less the same as domestic rates.”

He added that Telefonica will lower prices “by a lot”, depending on “the outcome of consumer tests”. Thinq_ believes that tests aren't really needed, because no consumer is going to object to price cuts on data roaming.