I’m in the fortunate position of being on holdiay in France. A country which as part of the EU I could sign on, get free hospital treatment, buy a house or get a job. All because I am a citizen of the UK which is also part of the EU.
As an O2 customer I get data included in my tariff. O2 also provide me with access to thousands of wifi hotspots, for “free” yet O2 will charge me £3 per MB of data used because I’m on holiday (and none of those hotspots are outside the UK). If you want to participate in any online discussion while abroad you have to be prepared to stump up the cash as adding international data to your tariff is priced at £20 for 10MB and is a rolling fee.
That is a ridiculous position for any customer to be in. I’m fortunate becuase the apartment I’ve rented came with ADSL wifi included, and which sweetened the deal for me. (is broadband access as important as any other utility now?)
The EU have discussed roaming charges before and have made provisions to reduce the cost to the end user, but the reality is that this has not happened. If the adoption of smartphones continue to rise as predicted by many analysts, then consumers are going to demand to use their phones to access data while abroad, but at what cost? Will we see average Joe’s returning from Spain with a phone bill of a few hundred pounds, just because they were updating their facebook profile with pics and short videos? Is that fair or is it an example of a multinational abusing their position in the market?
What do you think? Will you stop using your phone while on holiday or will you pay an extortionate fee? Or will you contact your operator and protest at the price point they have set for you to access data while roaming?