back to article Holiday text messages to cost less than 9p

Viviane Reding has begun circulating details of her proposed caps on data and SMS roaming. She wants to see prices capped at €.11 for a text message and €1 a MB for roamed data. The draft text has been sent to the EU Commissioners for consideration ahead of a formal vote on the matter in October. It also includes a proposal to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Ridiculous data roaming charges

    €1 per MB, even when roaming is a rip off.

    It's not as bad as T-Mobile in the USA though. Before I went to the USA I called T-Mobile to enquire about using my WM6 piece of c**p on their data network while roaming.

    Certainly I could do it, but it would cost me £7 a MB. They wanted to charge me 3,000 times what I'm paying for data from them here in the UK. I politely told them to get stuffed. They tried to explain that T-Mobile USA is a different company. Again, told them to get stuffed.

  2. David Webb


    Is this Mrs Reding anti-profit? Does she want all the telco's to deliver phone calls and texts and not make any profit out of it? She is nuts, insane, around the bend.

    Our mobile sector works due to a lack of regulation, then along comes this bint and decides to champion a cause that won't effect her anyhow as she's on the EU gravy train. Sure, I text the US a lot, so having to pay 9p rather than 20p would really help with my wallet, but I understand there is a higher cost in texting the US, and its my choice as to wether or not I send the text, having this out of touch anti-capitalism, anarchist type of person trying her hardest to bankrupt all the mobile phone companies is stupid.

    Yes, maybe Voda makes insane profits, but if this woman gets her way, they will have to find other ways of making their cash back, so long free phones? See ya free texts/voice minutes?

    Or maybe I'm wrong, who knows.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    SMS vs MMS

    When I was on holiday recently, I checked the tariffs before I went and with my provider (t-mobile), a text message would cost 40p, but a multimedia message would cost 20p. Needless to say, all the messages I sent involved me selecting MMS, even if I was just sending text!

    Must be cheaper to route or something.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    It's all gonna end in tears...

    Whatever little side-earners Ms. Reding takes away from them will be replaced with increased charges for everyone else, instead of just a minority group.

    Yay, way to go, let's penalise all the users who don't roam and are currently reasonably happy by increasing their per minute tariffs and charging them for current freebies like receiving texts, like they do in the good ol' US of A.

    Reduction in telco profits is not an option they will live with, they'll just find other ways to gouge us, we all know that. So in what way is this shake-up good for the average consumer?

  5. Joe Montana

    Roaming ripoffs...

    I think roaming charges should be based on the equivalent package available locally, so worst case you pay for a locally equivalent subscription for the duration of your stay or at the local prepaid rate...

    As it stands, it's cheaper to simply buy a prepaid simcard and use that, but you obviously end up with a different number which can become troublesome.

    You should also get a temporary local number for your stay, it seems stupid to go somewhere on business or a visit, only to have the people you're seeing forced to pay for an international call to contact you, and you then having to pay again to receive that call.

    You should be able to choose the rate from the available options, just like a local can, keep your number (but pay for incoming on it) and get a local number for the duration of your stay. It could work out quite profitable for some carriers, as you'd be paying contract rates but not receiving any handset subsidy etc.

    Otherwise you achieve the same effect by simply buying a local sim, tho if you don't keep going back regularly the sim expires and it can be hassle shopping around in a foreign country looking for a mobile sim.

  6. Soruk
    Paris Hilton

    With a 9p roaming SMS rate...

    That would make it cheaper to text while roaming than at home on most tariffs. Is it just me or are the networks going to have a fit?

    Paris, since she seems to enjoy roaming.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Will not change my bill.

    Sure some costs will come down, but as has been evidenced lately you can be sure other costs will rise.

    You can just hear the conversation..

    Certainly sir, Text abroard are now 1p a text, however your contract will rise £10 per month, you'll get less minutes and you won't get a shiney new phone. Oh and any Calls outside your bundles will be £1 a minutes.

    Yes thats tongue in cheek, but the mobileco's will put something esle up to keep the profit levels high and reduce costs overall.

    Why can't the Politico's keep there snouts out of business. Every time they meddle and pointscore over each other our prices rise.

  8. Simon

    Hang on....

    ... 9p a message is CHEAPER than what the standard text message rate on my (now old) Vodafone contract was... I recall it was 12p a message.

    Not sure about the VAT. Maybe it was 9p plus VAT? Not sure...

    So bring it on! Unless of course they will subsidise the foreign message rate by pumping up something on the home tarrif. Or whats stopping them charging a "once a day/week standing charge" that will be applied on the sending of the first message in that period? Anything stopping them doing that?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    people complain calls are too expensive, people complain when companies make fat profits .... now they're complaining when someone finally decides to fix it...

    Love it..

  10. Anonymous Coward

    @ David Webb

    Of course you have a point, but as a phone user, why should I subsidise your latest all singing and dancing phone because you want it for free?

    Someone looses out as ever, but I don't mind a rate cap as long as I can use the things I need to reasonably. I do object to paying higher rates so someone can get a cheap / free phone.

  11. Chris Hamilton

    Driving up usage 100%...

    I have a package from Orange that gives me 300 free UK texts, 4MB data (enough to get email headers for a month) and calls to 4 other Orange UK users for 15p/hr anytime. All for a mere £10/month.

    I travel fairly regularly in Europe, and of course I lose all my inclusive texts/data etc. Therefore I use my phone minimally. Texts become 32p each, data goes up to £4/MB and voice calls are so expensive I don't use them at all. In fact I block all incoming calls from numbers not in my address book while roaming.

    If the rates for each of these items were brought down to a reasonable level, I would use them a lot more. If texts were only 10p, I would probably send 3-4x as many... if voice calls were down to about 20p/min I wouldnt mind speaking to all and sundry.... and if data was (a still ridiculous) £1/MB I might consider taking off the data roaming block on my phone.

    I don't believe capping the prices is counter-profit. I think it will drive up usage and encourage people to treat their phones as if they were still here in Blighty. A further suggestion to the telcos would be to allow customers to maintain their packages while roaming with an international partner.... i.e. let me treat Orange F the same way I use Orange UK.

    This is what the EU is supposed to be all about.

  12. AC

    totally agree

    how dare anyone make a profit, I mean come on, what arrogance !!

  13. Keith Martin

    Vodafone IRL

    Vodafone recently wrote to me to point out that they are charging me thirteen euro (around a tenner sterling) for the first MB each month. Will the rules apply to data prices in your own country too, or should I just drive up to Newry when I want to check my email on the move?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheaper than national?

    €1 per MB... That's cheaper than I would get here!

    (Not that I use it, else I would have a better tariff for it).

  15. Jon Green

    €1 per MB?

    That's a third of what I pay _in the UK_ when I go over my monthly limit!

    I do hope those "roaming charges" will be a cap on local charges too!

  16. Gordon Pryra


    Everyone complaining that "they will need to make their profits elsewhere"

    I think the whole point is that they are over charging EVERYWHERE.

    So no, they WONT have to make their profits on normal users, because Redding wont let them.

    And to start to talk about "Free Phones" or "Free Minutes" is just a joke.

    Why should these companys routinly lie and over charge (sic steal) from us?

    Because there is little compertition, so we NEED people like Redding who can slap the bastards back into line.

    Moron customers willing to roll over and take it unlubed do not help things.

    Stand up for yourselves you weak willed little people

    Telcos are NOT your friends and they give you S.F.A for free (except maybe cancer from their phone masts)

  17. Steve Evans

    @David Webb

    I don't think this really has much to do with profit. I would imagine that the income from roamed charges would be a tiny sliver of a percent compared to the home usage profits. Especially as the moment you stay in a country for more than a couple of weeks, the sensible among us go out and buy a pay-as-you-go sim.

    Given a text message is limited to 160characters, even the home network price per byte is horrendous!

    Personally I save up all my messages and photos home, and then send them out on the next open wifi point I find as emails.

  18. Nathanael Bastone

    So now...

    Texts outside my free texts in the UK cost me 10p on orange, but if I was roaming it would only cost me 9p??

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @Roaming ripoffs...

    Or couldn't we have the same enforced tariff in Europe as at home - it is the EU and we can share a currency / monetary policy etc (well not UK but then we opt out of everything).

    Europe is made up of pretty small countries and it really suits the Telcos to make us pay for moving around.

    Yes it will harm profits, but they wont disappear altogether.

    People seem to have lost sight of the idea that a company can compete and make money based on providing a good cost effective service. They do not have to profiteer by keeping the status quo when they have already made so much from massive mark up on their costs.

  20. Luke Wells

    About bloomin time

    The last time I used roaming data was while on holiday in the USA.

    I got an e-mail that there was a problem with a database server, so I logeed in, downloaded an error log and sent over some SQL commands.

    When I got back I found that my roaming data cost me £101 (@ £6.50 + vat per meg)

    How rediculous is that. Where has the extra £6 per meg come from? You can't tell me that the US operator is charging £6 per meg wholesale?

  21. EmperorFromage

    It'll still be prepaid for me.

    (posted when "roaming" in Romania. Unlimited WAP for EUR 3.50 a month goes a long way when I configure Firefox on my eee to use the WAP gateway as a proxy.)

  22. James Dunmore

    Outside inclusive texts anyway

    When I go to Europe, I always come back with a massive phone bill, despite attempts not to use my phone - I get 600texts inclusive here, so I just send without thinking, and sometimes its very easy to forget whilst your away.

    If it was only 9p (or even up to 15p), I would probably double my usage - I reckon most people would too. So I think this would actually work.

  23. pctechxp

    back to 50p/min

    I remember my folks having two old analogue mobiles on cellnet for emergencies and paying line rental plus 50p a min for a call.

    My first PAYG phone on One2One was 40p a min when I got unless I wan't 50p deducted a day to access the 10p peak and and 2p off preak rates (equivalent to £15.50 line rental) until One to one shook up their tariffs.

    I'm still a PAYG customer on O2 now but if they go back to their cellnet days or start charging me for incoming calls/texts my mobile is going.

  24. Glenn Gilbert

    What's the Daily Express' take on EU interference?

    So typical of the damn EU forcing us to pay less for our phone calls and usurping our British OffConn...

    How come the mobile phone companies have such large shops in virtually every high street? Excess profit per chance?

  25. Dan Silver badge

    If you post letters to other EU countries it costs more

    So what's wrong with it costing more while calling in other EU countries? There's more work involved after all.

    Perhaps she's hoping do drive everything to a logical conclusion, which is a single tariff for national and EU roaming calls. I'm sure everyone will be happy then. And at 50p/min calling and receiving and 30p/text wherever you are in the EU she can't complain either.

  26. David Barr


    The market will eventually sort itself. Intervention will cost consumers in the end.

    I hardly use my phone abroad, when I go to the States I just pick up a pay as you go phone and bin it when I leave. I'd be happy to pay reasonable charges to Vodafone if they had any, but as they don't, I don't. Eventually someone will cater to me and allow me to have my British number in use in the US and Europe without me having to pay an arm and a leg for it.

  27. Christopher Woods

    @ SMS vs MMS Anonymous Coward

    When I was speaking to T-Mobile about this, I was told it was due to the way in which the MMS fees have been capped - an EU Directive, so they have to charge that amount (as do all other providers EU-wide) - I'm guessing it was due to the wording of the Directive which meant they had to include the cost in tariffs, whereas with SMSes they still charge on top.

    Although the guy confirmed that the data usage involved is free also, even when roaming, I still have a feeling you're charged for data - but when it's such a miniscule amount (literally 1kb per MMS) it's hardly not worth even bothering about.

    I also exclusively send MMSes when roaming :)

    I wish UK providers would charge loads more for calls and texts when roaming, but include it in allowances! (so for example, a call which would cost 20p/min in the UK would actually cost 80p/min when roaming, but it still came out of your inclusive allowance) - the provider who implemented this would quickly become THE most popular telco in the UK, especially for business users. Yet they all seem to be waiting for someone else to give it a go first...

  28. James
    Gates Horns


    I do the same as David Barr, just paying local PAYG rates for calls and data. The roaming rates do seem completely insane, not that I have much interest in EU-specific regulations since I travel outside the EU rather than inside.

    I think I should be able to set up a Skype number which will forward to whatever my temporary local number is when I'm abroad, which would simplify things, but haven't looked too closely yet (I didn't bother on my last trip).

    Mobile companies have a long list of scams: charging the poor people who call you from landlines through the nose, charging you through the nose if you set foot outside your home country, often ripping you off on data at home as well - yet still pouring a fortune into giving away handsets as loss leaders, screwing us on every other aspect of service to pay for it! I'd be happy to see those three scams ended, even if it meant actually paying for the shiny gadgets instead of paying through the nose to get them "free".

    Bill, because he knows all about giving one thing away free in order to screw you on others...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Webb

    You "understand there is a higher cost in texting the US." Says who? There is no reason why the termination fee charged by the recipient network in the US is necessarily any higher than the termination fee charged by a UK network.

    Reding is referring to capping the cost of sending SMS when roaming and not sending SMS to international numbers anyway.

  30. Simon Smart

    @Christopher Woods

    I wish UK providers would charge loads more for calls and texts when roaming, but include it in allowances!


    You should have a squint at 3. They allow roaming in the EU on minutes (and, conveniently, in parts of Australia), although their coverage isn't always as perfect as it could be. It certainly made my trip to Oz somewhat cheaper.

  31. Graeme Hill

    Stop Meddling and get a life Ms Redding

    Why can she not realise that using a mobile phone abroad is a premium service. When I travel, I can't take my water supplier, my gas supplier, my electricity supplier, my home broadband or my home phone. Why should a mobile be classed as anything other than a premium service which you have to pay premium prices for? It is not an essential utility, contrary to what most teenagers will tell you. It is a soddin luxury item. Ms Redding should wind her neck in, and stop penalising companies which offer a PREMIUM service.

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