ANZIO Digital Surfing More Expensive Abroad

by Patricia Montgomery, LincsMag Writer.
Date: 01 May 2011

Surfing More Expensive Abroad - Lincolnshire Magazine -

Be aware that using tablet devices such as iPads while travelling overseas, can be as much as 1,000 times more costly than in the UK!

Data use such as checking emails, watching videos and downloading music on a tablet device can cost as little as £7.50 a month in the UK for a GB of data, but consumer champion, Which?, has found that equivalent use could cost Britons travelling abroad several thousand pounds.

Thankfully some operators have bill-shock protections in place – for example T-Mobile sends a text advising of costs when its customers arrive in a country where it has a roaming agreement; Orange requires you to call its customer services to activate your tablet for use abroad, and says its reps will explain the high cost of data roaming.

It would take several hours of watching video online to run up such astronomical charges, but simply using GPS to get around, browsing the internet, or checking emails could lead to a bill of several hundred pounds.

What’s more, smart phone and tablet users could find their devices racking up big bills without them knowing it as they access the net to carry out automatic updates.

Although data charges are limited to around £40 in the EU due to an automatic bill-cut off required by EC regulation, and some operators have caps for use further afield, others don’t have a limit on how big a bill a customer can rack up.

Using Your Mobile Phone

It was found that using your mobile phone to make and receive calls, send texts and browse the web while abroad can be extremely costly too. Unlike within the UK, mobile users must pay to receive calls as well as to make them.

Prices are capped in the EU, but calls made elsewhere can be up to 10 times more expensive and texts can be four times more expensive.

Regular phone use on a two week holiday that would cost less than £40 in France would cost up to £190 in the US - and around £300 from Russia. These prices assume that a pay-monthly user makes seven ten-minute calls, receives seven ten-minute calls and sends ten texts.

Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, says: “The cost of using a mobile in the EU has dropped significantly in recent years, but travel further afield and you could be facing a huge bill for making a few calls to stay in touch with friends and family.

“If you’re a frequent traveller, you may be able to save money by buying an upgrade from your operator that offers reduced international call costs, or if you spend a lot of time in one country, it may be worth getting a local pay-as-you-go Sim card.

“Until data costs come down, anyone considering their tablet or mobile for using the net abroad should steer well clear of 3G data roaming and use free wi-fi access where available instead.”

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