Vodafone cuts data roaming charges abroad in Europe
Vodafone has begun reducing the cost of its data roaming charges for customers using smartphones abroad in selected European countries.
The operator’s new payment plan allows customers to pay an additional flat-rate data fee on top of their existing data plans for using their smartphones abroad in any of Vodafone’s 12 European markets. Charges vary between countries but UK customers on holiday in another European Vodafone market, for instance, can pay £2 a day to download up to 25Mb of data, compared to the current charge of £1 for each Mb.
“This is the year of the smartphone and we want our European data users to feel free to use their devices in Europe in the same way as they do at home,” said Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone.
Vodafone’s decision to cut its data roaming charges abroad comes ahead of pressure from the European Commission (EC) to remove the difference between roaming and national tariffs by 2015. The EC introduced a cap on the cost of calls, texts and data downloads last summer as an interim measure to encourage operators to lower prices.
Vodafone’s competitors are now widely expected to follow its example and slash prices for using smartphones in Europe. According to Jeremy Green, analyst at Ovum, any new pricing plans are still unlikely to deter the EC from passing new legislation in the future.
“There are similarities between this situation and the issue of voice roaming, where operators introduced new commercial initiatives to bring down prices, but this did not prevent the EC from introducing its own regulations anyway,” said Green.