back to article Vodafone shocks data users with roaming price rise

Vodafone is to change how it charges phone and laptop users to connect to mobile broadband services overseas. Its customers are not best pleased - heavy data users could see prices rise fivehold. From 15 June, data roaming in Europe will be billed at £1 per megabyte for the first 5MB, then £5 for each extra 5MB used. That's …


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  1. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down


    Overseas charges are ridiculous. Especially when a provider (like Vodafone) operates in several countries.

    This is why it's important to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card for each country you plan to spend any decent amount of time in. Pointless and annoying, but important.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
      Thumb Down

      Voda P&G in Spain

      I have a Voda pay and go sim in Spain, but the data charges on that are stupid. My wife pays less using her UK O2 P&G sim roaming in Spain than I pay on my Spanish Voda P&G in Spain!

  2. fattybacon

    Data Highway Robbery

    I can understand these roaming charges when they don't have a network prescence but Vodafone are in:

    Czech republic, Germany, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey and United Kingdom.

    It really is criminal. It was well covered that this is how they'd 'monetize' themselves after getting the call and sms charge hammer from the EU, but so soon, it's barefaced.

    1. Anton Ivanov

      You missed a few

      They also have full partnership agreement with Telekom Austria which goes onto all of its subsidiaries. So you should add Austria, Bulgaria and most of Eastern Europe to the list.

  3. Szymon Kosecki
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    Yeah right,

    The company is changing prices to actively lower its revenue? Yeah, right...What a load of b....

  4. Szymon Kosecki
    Thumb Down

    Yeah right

    Do they really think that the people will believe that they will actualy do so to lower their revenues? What a load of ... Yeah right....

  5. PaulK

    Greedy bastards

    Thank you Vodafony. I was doing very nicely within the 25MB/day limit as I crawl my way around Europe. I am going to be one of those users that gets kicked in the nads with a 400% hike. Value for money, not!

    By the way, please could you explain why roaming on Vodafone Turkey is so bloody expensive?

    1. Thomas 4
      Thumb Up

      Why are you so upset?

      The article clearly states that this only affects a small minority of users, so it's perfectly acceptable to screw you rigid.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Is there a place on Vodafone for a User to see their live and current data consumption and current total price against it?

    I've never seen it

    But surely this needs to be in place?

  7. Jim T
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    In a recent trip to the US, my partner and I used my vodaphone phone for the exclusively for the internet because the O2 charges were so extortionate. Now they've done this, just about the only option is to turn it off.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    And that is the company that had a 6£ cap on any abroad per-day use

    The sole reason I have a vodafone USB modem is that it was sold with a 6£ cap on any abroad per-day use within a partner network for up to 50MB. I have had to use it "in anger" only once so far, but it came quite handy at the time. 25£ quid and per-megabyte charges however is out of the question. After the contract expires I will remind myself that once upon a time I had them banned in my household for similar "tricks" with insurance and move ship to someone else.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    vodaphone presence in multiple countries

    Even though vodaphone have a presence in multiple countries, isn't it the case that these companies operate completely independently of each other? i.e. that the only thing that (say) vodaphone UK and vodaphone germany have in common is their branding and then at a high level, their ownership. All the company structure, IT systems, etc isn't everything entirely separate/different. If this is the case, perhaps that's one reason why their roaming tariffs are so high even in countries where they appear to have their own service?

    I just wondered because I noticed this with HSBC bank. I had an account with them in UK, then when I moved to Singapore I opened HSBC account as I thought it would be easier to transfer money and so on. But there was no connection whatsoever beyond the branding.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Licence to print money

      To answer your question - no. VF has one of the most highly integrated networks in the world. However, each country is exhorted to extract as much from the travelling public as possible with any savings from synergies expressly not being passed on to the customer. On the internal IP network country borders do not exist so the costs for backhaul are negligent.

      Probably worth noting that the EU has set an upper limit for data roaming costs and also requested that € 50 be the upper limit before an automatic cut-off applies unless previously indicated by the customer.

  10. Seareach

    Getting hammered

    I travel quite a lot and am always getting hammered by data charges, especially when I get forgetful with my beloved iPhone. I'm experimenting with using wifi-only when abroad, and calling via CallGlobal. It's not ideal.

    The different kinds of sim cards available are baffling; is there a site around that makes sense of it all?



  11. Rob Farnell

    This is starting to become

    a real problem. We need some of these special sim companies to provide some competition on the data front.

    As I ranted previously, why didn't OFTEL deal with this when they restricted costs of roaming mobile calls and texts? I saw it coming ages ago, why couldn't they? Cross-charging between separate divisions of the same company shouldn't require a discount, but there should be an acceptable ceiling rate whether by time or data transfer.

  12. flingback

    This has got to be a joke...

    The last I heard, the regulators were hammering the networks for their overly expensive roaming charges. This looks to me like a method of passing the buck from SMS/Voice to Data and thus maintaining their high revenues whilst screwing the customer and sticking two fingers up at OFCOM.

    There is clearly something wrong with this. I use data a lot when roaming and have seen the charges escalate dramatically in the past two years from 250MB/day for £25 to this latest nonsense. I wouldn't even mind paying a bolt on fee which is charged per month whether I roam or not but this latest rise is going to make me move my £4k's a month of business elsewhere.

    With all due respect, screw you Vodafone the way you think it's fair to screw us!

  13. guyro

    Reduce your data consumption => reduce your bills

    Data roaming is a real pain. The way GSM networks are designed no carrier really has an incentive to lower prices, so you end up with high prices. Plus, at the end of the day they realize it's mostly businesses who use this and they are less sensitive to price increases - so they just charge what they can.

    Here at Vircado ( - [full disclosure: I am co-founder of the startup] - we're taking a different route to mitigating exorbitant data roaming costs - our service, designed for iPhones in particular but other smartphones too - basically reduces by far the amount of data you actually need. You wouldn't believe how much useless data you're downloading just due to how the Internet is designed for desktops, not mobiles. That way you can use less and pay less.

    - Guy.

  14. Jamie Kitson

    Count Yourselves Lucky

    O2 charges three times that iirc.

    You also don't say what used to happen if you went over 25megs a day. It could be that even higher users are better off.

    There was a chap on Radio 4's Money Mox last week that arrived home to a £7000 bill from O2. Bit of a plonker really, he was streaming Radio 4.

    1. flingback


      It used to be £25 per 250MB per day. If you went over, if I recall correctly it went up in £25 chunks. It also had to be on a partner network and was part of the initial great drive to get everyone on vodafone passport.

      I also think it was fair, although they should have charged a monthly access fee for that then they could charge a lesser amount for people who casually browse (clearly the target of their latest plan). vodafone has been the network of choice for a lot of business, but I can see this changing as others are now as competitive...

  15. DrXym Silver badge

    I would be surprised...

    ... if it cost even a cent for Vodafone to transfer 5Mb even when roaming was involved. These prices are simply daylight robbery.

  16. myhandle
    Thumb Down

    5MB is not big

    I'd be surprised at any session worth being a session using less than 5MB data. My spam is frequently about 50MB/day. Personally I think that is a bullshit statistic that would bear no relevance to the truth.


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    dont use vodafone in europe

    I have been a vodafone customer for a fairly long time and i have had multiple conversations with them along the lines of "..this makes my communications costs a very serious factor in my p & l for this contract / job etc."

    The answer is;- do not use them for data in europe. Its a bit of a pain but there are many ways to get internet while in europe such as local sims, wifi hot spots etc and there are plenty of ways to manage your own call routing.

    One thing is for sure, no amount of bitching and moaning at Vodafone is going to make a bit of difference. vote with you feet.

  18. Damian Skeeles

    Bye bye business user?

    Here was I thinking Vodafone were progressive for offering practical data bundles. As soon as I found O2 willingly unlocked contract iPhones, I leapt on the chance of using my Vodafone SIM in it. when abroad Every time my plane taxis, the little bent paperclip comes out of my bag to eject the iPhone SIM carrier, take out the O2 SIM, and put in my Vodafone one. Every time I get home, the O2 one goes back in. In the process, O2 lose hundreds of pounds to Vodafone for my roaming data and voice calls, simply because I don't have to be so careful about using my iPhone, at Vodafone's old prices.

    So - I'm mystified as to why Vodafone wants to do this. The data volumes are negligable for impact on the network - roaming data is just a revenue machine - but with this new pricing, they're no longer way ahead of their competitors!

  19. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    As featured on BBC's "Moneybox".

    Well, I forget if it was Vodafone or one of the others, but some poor sod got stuck overseas in the volcanic ash shutdown and apparently got through 2.8 gigabytes of, er, listening to "Moneybox", and other programmes on BBC Radio 4. Tune in for details - unless you're "roaming" yourself, in which case the answer is just "don't". Incidentally, some of the EU regulation on charges and allowances doesn't apply until June (end of?), so watch out there, too.

  20. Lee Dowling


    A bucketload of £200 / year contracts to whichever European telco comes up with something decent on the data-roaming front. No way I'm ever going to use any service that still accounts in MB - hell, they never bothered with that amount of "traffic" back in the old 14.4k dial-up days, certainly no reason to now when all the cell tower has to do is join me to a local broadband connection - the same as it does for every local who has a 3G dongle.

    When I can do 3Gb/month on a basic PAYG 3G dongle package for less than 50p a day with T-Mobile, there's no reason WHATSOEVER for any international telco to be charging more than that, anywhere. Get your act together and get thousands and thousands of contracts. Keep pissing about and I'll keep using free wireless that doesn't get you a penny. Simple.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Pathetic morons

    This is pathetic. The sooner a fully wireless high speed network is built the sooner we can completely dismantle these companies stranglehold on mobile comms.

    I would like nothing more than to see them dismantled completely.

  22. David Love

    Lynch me if you like, but I approve

    I've been with Voda since they started in 1985, so you could say I'm a satisfied customer. Or low hanging fruit ripe for picking.

    Like thousands of others I travel regularly outside Europe with an iPhone. Up to now I've always set data roaming to Off because of the high daily cost, then headed for the nearest hotspot - not always convenient, or even possible.

    With the new tariff I can get push Exchange mail, check stocks and weather, use Google Maps etc. for £3 a day provided I don't leave Maps on constantly.

    OK I know roaming charges are a rip-off, but surely this move is a practical response to the way many people use smartphones overseas?

  23. Jamie J

    Oh yeah...

    Feel lucky... down in New Zealand, our data roaming charges with Vodafone vary between £4.80 (in some countries where Vodafone has a presence) to £14.50 per MB everywhere else. The £4.80 thing is pretty new as well - about a month ago, it used to be the case that no matter where you went, you paid £14.50 per MB.

    You would've thought that carriers could just get there sh*t together, partner up with other networks and do away with roaming data - just have data handled by a local carrier and charged at local costs (maybe plus a small percentage to send back home if your original carrier can't stand losing that revenue). I bet this would increase data usage tenfold and bring carriers a lot more revenue from customers traveling to their countries than it could lose from those who have gone overseas.

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