Mobile networks rejig roaming ahead of EU cap

New EU regulations will protect customers from racking up huge bills while abroad by cutting them off once the bill reaches €50.

EU Mobile Regulations

With new European regulations on mobile roaming coming into force on 1 March, T-Mobile and Orange have introduced new data bundles for customers using their phones abroad.

As of Monday, anyone using mobile broadband while roaming in EU countries will see their bill capped at 50 (45) to protect them from unknowingly racking up huge bills. Once the limit has been reached, consumers will have to contact their service provider to specifically ask for more.

The regulations do make the provision for setting the limit higher than 50, but again this would have to be arranged in advance.

T-Mobile and Orange have both introduced new packages in response to the new regulations. T-Mobile's Euro Broadband Booster provides a single shot of data that can be purchased as an add-on to its pay-per-day or pay-monthly USB mobile broadband deals.

There are four options to choose from costing 1 for 3MB, 5 for 20MB, 10 for 50MB or 40 for 200MB. The add-on automatically kicks in as soon as the web browser is launched, and is valid for 24 hours (except the largest 200MB option, which can be used for up to 30 days).

"As 40 per cent of customers say they want to take their laptop away with them to stay connected, we're launching Euro Broadband Boosters so they can do this without having to worry about the costs getting out of control," T-Mobile's Ralf Pearson said when announcing the new bundles.

The network has also introduced similar data add-ons for its mobile phone users. All but the 200MB option are available, but instead of all the deals expiring after 24 hours, the 5MB option will be good for seven days and the 10MB option for 30 days.

Orange, meanwhile, is offering a 2 for 2MB package for accessing its mobile broadband services abroad. The package will be charged for each day customers go online, and will remain valid for 24 hours. However, it is an opt-in service, and failing to do so will see costs default to the standard 3 for 1MB charge.

The amended Roaming Regulations first came into force in July last year, but the European Commission built in an eight-month "transparency period" for providers to make the switch.

The new terms will be reviewed in June 2011 to assess whether further proposals are necessary.

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