Holidaymakers will no longer be stung by hefty mobile charges while abroad

10 August 2007
Following a shake-up of mobile phone roaming charges for people travelling overseas, 18 million mobile phone customers are set to benefit from the new Eurotariffs which will come into effect at the end of the month.

But customers are being warned that not all networks will automatically place them onto new deals and the rates may also vary by up to 52% for calling home from abroad and up to 90% to receive calls while abroad depending on the network.

According to the new regulation, mobile networks are obliged to cut their charges by up to 69% meaning that mobile phone customers considering taking their phone abroad can relax in the knowledge that they will not be paying over the odds for calls made while overseas.

Steve Weller, Head of Communications Services at uSwitch.com has advised consumers travelling in Europe to contact their network before they go and sign up to best value deal for their needs:

“For Brits travelling abroad this year, 3 has really stepped into the sunshine and left the other mobile networks firmly in the shade. 3 customers will now pay just 25p instead of 80p per minute to phone the UK while they are in Europe and 10p instead of 30p per minute to receive a call.

“These new rates will not come into effect until the end of the month, so we advise anyone going on holiday over the next three weeks to call their mobile

network before they go to make sure that they get the best deal while they are away. There are a number of alternatives to the Eurotariff, such as Vodafone Passport or O2 My Europe Extra, which still offer savings on the current roaming charges, depending on where you are travelling to and for how long you are away.”

Vodafone customers who are not on their Passport scheme will automatically be placed onto its new Eurotariff on 29th August and customers of T-Mobile, Orange and 3 will swiftly follow on 30th August.

However, O2 customers are not getting the same level of service. Despite being the UK’s largest network with 17.8 million customers, O2 is waiting for its customers to call in to get the special rate, with activation then taking up to a week after request.

Weller continues: “Consumers should be mindful that operators may not go the extra mile to advertise the new deals for the time being as they will be keen to reap the benefits of the existing roaming charges incurred by this summer’s late holidaymakers – as seems to be the case with O2. Our advice to anyone going abroad with their mobile, whatever the network and wherever you are going is to ‘call before you fly.’

A final word of warning from u-Switch reminds customers that the new rules only cover telephone calls and exclude SMS, data and MMS services and while EU countries must comply, there is currently no legislation for non-EU member states.

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