Three Argues Against Data Roaming Charges

Mobile phone provider Three and several consumer advocacy groups have been speaking with the House of Lords, decrying roaming data charges as being far too high.

The smallest of UK phone providers, Three argued that because it had to pay other providers in different regions varied rates depending on where its users went, it often had to charge them unexpectedly high amounts for small quantities of data.

"This means that the retail price we are offering to consumers is too high because we need to set it at a level where we are not making a loss with any of the networks we are roaming onto," said network spokesman and head of public policy at Three, Julie Minns.

She continued, saying that it would be far simpler if it was possible to charge a single rate for Europe, perhaps a continental rate. As it stands though, the roaming charges vary from country to country and possibly even by county or region.

"Data prices are still much too high," agreed Bob Warner, the chair of the Communications Consumer Panel. "They probably undercharge for data in the UK and overcharge abroad. You get used to having data at very low rates in the UK and so develop certain usage habits and then go abroad and get bill shock."

Times they are a-changing however, as just recently the European Parliament ruled on new caps for data roaming charges across the EU, dropping it from 80 cents per megabyte to 50 cents. It is also now a legal responsibility for all providers to allow customers to switch which firm handles their data depending on where they are. It might be a hassle for users, but this promises to have a large impact on overall data cost when travelling.

Source: Wired