Bill shock: new roaming caps benefit mobile users in the EU, but not elsewhere
The new EU roaming charge cap being introduced at midnight tonight is just in time! New figures published today by Which? show that nearly one in six people have experienced a mobile phone bill shock after returning from a holiday in the last year.
A quarter ended up being charged more than £40 over their usual monthly usage.
The roaming charge cap takes effect from tomorrow – 1 July – and will lower costs for people travelling within the EU. Under the new rules the maximum charge for outgoing calls, excluding VAT, will be 19 cents per minute, six cents for outgoing text messages and 20 cents for a MB download of data.
However, the new caps only apply when you use a mobile within the EU. Worryingly nearly half of mobile users who have been abroad in the last 12 months said they didn’t know that the price caps don’t apply to the whole of Europe.
If you’re travelling further afield you could still suffer from bill shock on your return, unless you plan beforehand.
What should you do to avoid huge charges? For starters, don’t download films, games or music abroad. Do it through home wi-fi before you leave.
But the most crucial thing is to turn off data roaming on your phone or tablet. Look up your model on the internet before you travel to find out how to do this. It will stop the automatic downloads of updates, which can really cause a huge bill.
Then find out about data roaming bundles or buy a local SIM when you arrive abroad for cheap-rate calls.
Ofcom, the regulator, has made a series of helpful videos explaining how to avoid racking up bills. Go to Consumers.ofcom.org.uk/2013/03/how-to-mobile-guides/.Tagged in: bills, eu, holidays, mobile, phones
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