Speculation is mounting that Vodafone could be about to launch new overseas mobile broadband deals, ahead of Europe-wide regulations that will slash data charges.
From July 1st, new EU regulations will see wholesale data charges capped at €1 (excluding VAT) per 1MB of usage. This initial reduction is the first stage of a drive to cut the cost of mobile broadband across the EU, which will eventually see charges reduced to €0.50 from July 1st, 2011. Additionally, the program of reform is also set to cut text messaging and phone call costs throughout the Continent.
In direct response to the impending rules, earlier this month Vodafone confirmed that it would be waiving additional international roaming charges for SMS and phone calls for three months during the summer. Now, with the removal of its existing overseas mobile broadband tariffs, it would appear that the broadband provider is clearing the way for new, cheaper mobile broadband price plans.
Vodafone previously offered two overseas mobile broadband tariffs, dubbed Euro Travel and Travel, which were priced at £65 and £95 per month respectively. As a result of the relatively high price points, overseas mobile broadband deals of this type were usually the preserve of business broadband users.
The imposition of the EU regulations has been driven in part by high-profile newspaper reports of consumers facing unexpectedly high charges for using their dongle abroad. To mitigate the chances of this continuing to occur, the rules will also bring with them a range of new billing obligations for providers.
These include a top-end limit for bills, which will be pegged at €50 (£47). Networks will also be forced to notify customers when they have used 80 per cent of their limit. Should the customer then reach their limit, a second warning must be issued. Finally, in the event that the client fails to respond to their provider’s e-mails, the roaming service will be cancelled.