High roaming charges can be avoided

I’m soon going on summer vacation to Italy. My holiday base station will be the beautiful Riva del Garda for two weeks. I’ll probably want to share some images and videos to Facebook friends and read my personal e-mail, but how do you do that without paying euros per megabyte for mobile data?

My mobile operator TeliaSonera recently announced new plans for 27 EU countries and a more expensive plans for countries outside EU. Wheƒsan using a laptop, you can surf for 9,99EUR a day up to 100 MB. After that data costs 9,99 EUR per 100 MB. They have a different pricing when you use a mobile phone, and if you go outside EU.

As a funny detail , due to the daily quota it is cheaper to transfer up to 50 MB during one day than 25 MB in two days. And this they call ”easy to understand and safe” for consumers.

Elisa, the another of three mobile network operators in Finland has also introduced more affordable data roaming charges (in Finnish, sorry). Their pricing for laptop use is 15EUR up to 50 MB, and after that 15EUR for all the beginning 50 MBs. But then, if you use a mobile phone or are outside EU, there are dfferent prices. So it’s very, very different what you are used to paying in your home country.

Even though TeliaSonera has brought more reasonable charging plans, it still very expensive to and complicated access internet when roaming.

So once again I’ll have to look for wireless hotspots from hotel or elsewhere. Some (rare) hotels in Europe offer free wireless access to their customers,whereas in the U.S. It’s very common. Price can vary from 5EUR a day to as high as 30EUR for a day.

A good alternative is getting a pre-paid SIM card and a fixed data package for that, although it make take some time to find a suitable one from in the local offering. There’s a good wiki about pre-paid voice and data plans (thanks to Sami Köykkö for the hint).

I still don’t quite know the current offering in Italy and Garda lake area, but a Facebook friend tipped he had found almost an unlimited data package for about 20 euros a month from one of the largest operators, Wind. Check this site (thanks for  Petri Ojala). There are other countries and operators listed too. Not a bad deal, if you get a decent 3G connection for that.

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In my opinion European operators are hurting our competivity against Asia and the U.S., because now there still are 27 different markets. I think my fixed data plan in Finland should cover the whole EU for a reasonable price.

Even though regulation is generally bad for development and free competition, I think EU should enforce rules to consumer data roaming charges too to fix this short-term issue.

One good decision from EU was to set an enforced maximum charge of 50 EUR (excluding local taxes) for data roaming. To be charged more, the customer has to choose to order extra data traffic. This way you won’t  accidentally get a data bill of hundreds or even thousands of euros which has happened to many European. And if operators want customers to spend more, they need to offer reasonable price rates.

Outside EU data roaming is even more expensive. Last December I spent a tweo weeks vacation in Thailand. Almost all of even the smallest corner shops sold pre-paid SIM cards for many operators, such as, and they could buy data access as credit. I recall 100 MB cost about 200 THB (about 4,5 EUR at that time).

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  1. Paluuviite: Affordable pre-paid data in Italy « Tero Lehto's Mobility Blog

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