Top 10 Broadband is reminding holidaying Britons that from July they will be able to use mobile broadband in the EU for a fraction of the previous cost, as new regulations come into force to limit charges.
In the wake of sustained pressure from the European communications commissioner Viviane Reding, mobile broadband providers have been forced to cut charges for accessing the internet in the EU. Ms Reding threatened companies with legislation to force them to reduce their costs if they did not do so willingly.
The measures mean that the maximum that an operator can charge a rival will be pegged at 1Mb of data to 1 Euro. This will put an end to the era of UK customers being hit with punitively high charges for checking their e-mail and surfing the web while holidaying in Europe.
By way of example, T-Mobile now charges £1.50 per Mb for its mobile broadband services. This is down from its previous price point of £7.50 per Mb. Meanwhile, O2 has dropped its prices to £3 per Mb. This represents a saving of 80 per cent for the mobile broadband provider’s pre-pay customers. Additionally, O2 has brought in two new data bundles, which allow customers up to 10Mb and 50Mb respectively. These are priced at £20 and £50 respectively and mean that using mobile broadband abroad falls to as little as £1 per Mb.
Jessica McArdle, marketing manager of Top 10 Broadband, dubbed the changes a “triumph” for UK consumers and for business broadband users who travel extensively in the EU.
She said: “Mobile broadband in the UK is an economical and convenient way of getting online. But before the European communications regulator took action high EU mobile broadband roaming charges have meant that using it overseas is extortionate.
“We’re gladdened that mobile broadband is getting a boost in this way. And the fact that the regulations are coming into force just as millions of us are heading off overseas on holidays means that the cap couldn’t have come at a better time.”
A further provision introduced by the EU is that from July mobile broadband customers will be allowed to set a limit on their accounts so they can track usage. The cap would mean that consumers’ accounts would be automatically disabled should they reach a limit of 50 Euros.