Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The dangers of roaming…

No, I don’t mean roaming in the countryside and falling down a well or a cliff, I mean roaming on your mobile phone!

I have an HTC Hero phone on the Meteor Network. I use for checking emails, social media, browsing the net and so on. I also use it as a phone, sometimes!

htchero It has got to a stage where I depend on it daily when out of the office. It is a vital piece of kit in my world.

Recently I was in England for 3 days. I had brought my netbook with me so that I could do some work in the hotel. I also brought my HTC Hero with me, mainly to use as a phone. The netbook could look after my email and internet needs.

As suggested by Meteor, I selected T Mobile as my preferred Network. Over the course of the 3 days, my HTC Hero downloaded just over 3.5 MB of data. Remember, that is Megabytes. Now I knew that there would be roaming charges, I have been travelling far and wide long enough to know that, but the cost of data whilst abroad is quite extraordinary.

For the privilege of downloading 3.5MB of data, I had to pay €36.15 ex VAT. That's roughly €10 a Megabyte, TEN EURO!

UntitledNow, the cost of it is not going to break me, but I was stunned as to how Meteor could charge so much for so little. In a fit of near rage, I emailed them and asked for an explanation.

A few days later I received a telephone call from someone in customer support, who although was quite pleasant and polite on the phone, she did not know the reason behind the incredible cost per MB. So here I sit, none the wiser really.

If you have a preferred network arrangement for your customers when roaming, why not allow them to use their allowances when abroad and let their users have the same privilege when here in Ireland?

Strangely enough, whilst Meteor charged me €10.24 per MB (from their website here), had I been a T Mobile customer roaming in Ireland, I would have been charged £1.50 per MB (from their website here, you need to select Ireland as your country).  Whilst still expensive, it comes no where near Meteors charge.

Smart phones are no longer the preserve of business people. Thanks to the iPhone, Android and others, there is a smart phone for everyone today. It’s just a shame that the phone companies just see it as another way to screw us whilst travelling.

Just as a comparison, for my €36 Euro, I could have bought 2 months of data access on the T Mobile Network in the UK on a PAYG sim, with an unlimited allowance.

So, be careful out there when roaming people, it can get very expensive if you are not.

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