Mobile Broadband Comparison website Broadband Expert has released a report showing that UK mobile broadband charges vary enormously and pointed to Orange as being the most expensive of them all.
The France Telecom owned mobile network charges up to £3.94 for every megabyte worth of data downloaded within the European Union. This shoots up to £6.32 for a country outside the EU (even if it is covered by Orange, like in Mauritius). By comparison, Orange charges £15 for a 3000MB data transfer limit within the United Kingdom - that's half a penny per MB, a thousand times less than the most expensive data-roaming charges.
By comparison, Vodafone's price for using up to 50Mb worth of data within the EU is only £9.99, the equivalent of 20p per MB. Anywhere else would see a £4.99 charge per MB downloaded.
In related news, mobile operator 3 has announced that it has sold its one millionth broadband dongle as it managed to grow its user base by nearly a quarter to 5.4 million in the UK.
Interestingly, 3 is trying to counteract its dropping average revenue per user by encouraging existing customers to buy an additional service at a discount. For example, you can get a 1GB broadband contract for £5 per month.
3 has also been the first broadband company to breach the £1 barrier by offering a 15GB contract for £14.78 per month, the cheapest offer per MB currently available on any network.
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Mobile broadband is here to stay and with some pretty astute move, mobile phone networks could well make BT's life as the fixed-line giant more miserable. But they will have to clear their acts like the frankly stupidly high mobile broadband charges users get when roaming outside the UK.
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