Travelblather

EU Mobile roaming charges – regulation is a good thing

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I've just spent a fantastic weekend in Seville. I lived there for several months last year.

At that point the new EU regulations on the cost of roaming (using
a mobile phone/cellphone abroad) hadn't come into effect. So I bought a
local SIM card. This meant I could receieve calls at no cost and call
other Spanish mobiles for far less. Typically I would have paid around
75p a minute to recieve calls and £1 to make them using my UK mobile in
Spain. With my local SIM card I received calls for free and made calls
to Spanish mobiles at around 30cents a minute. A huge saving. But I had the
inconvenience of having a new Spanish phone number so people calling me
from home using my old number got a voice message from me asking them
to redial my new Spanish number.

When the new legislation was introduced there was all sorts of noise
from the UK mobile operators
about how regulating markets was a bad
thing and that competition itself was enough to keep prices low. And
what's more outrageous is that the UK government was completely on the side of the mobile operators
too.

What a load of bunk.

This weekend I made and received calls in
Spain using my UK mobile for a fraction of what it cost a year ago.
And, as per the EU directive I got a text (SMS) message when I turned
on my mobile in Spain telling me the costs I would incur. So I knew exactly how much calls would cost.

And the result?

I used my mobile far more than I would have done. Instead of
spending less, I probably spent more. Regulation can work for all
concerned - even the whinging operators who are desparate to protect
their ridulously high margins at the expense of innovation and genuine customer-centred products and services. Who'd have thought it? Finding something good to say about EU regulation!

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