There are many things that divide us in this crazy world of ours, but one thing we surely all agree on is that using our mobile phones outside of our own country – and specifically using mobile data when abroad – is eye-wateringly expensive.
The well-groomed suits of the EU are on the case, however, and have just agreed legislation that will see a maximum chargeable fee imposed for the first time on data downloaded while abroad - a ceiling that will drop by three and a half times over the next couple of years.
Using your phone while abroad has always been painfully expensive, and while raising the subject tends to bring on the usual “rip-off Britain” knee-jerk complaint, it's a problem across Europe.
Stiff competition has driven the cost of domestic data use rapidly downwards in recent years, but as soon as you step beyond your own borders you're piggybacking off a partner network in the country you're visiting.
And in that situation both parties are effectively able to wash their hands of any meaningful responsibility to make the whole business affordable, and you're left with ridiculous charges for even basic internet use.
However, new rules approved by the EU – though still pending approval by the full European Parliament – will cap the cost of a downloaded megabyte of data at 70 cents (58p) for 2012, with the figure dropping to 45c (37p) in 2013 and 20c (17p) per MB in 2014.
The cost of calls and texts will also be regulated, though the cuts aren't nearly as dramatic (since the problem isn't nearly as big as with data). By 2014 calls while roaming will cost no more than 19c (16p)/min by 2014, while texts will be capped at 6c (5p) each.
Given that the high cost of data use when abroad has been affecting people across the board for years now, whether you're on a weekend stag do with your mates or a week-long work-only business conference, this should be some fairly welcome news.
All we need now is for things to start improving to the extent that we can actually afford to go abroad again...
Via CIO Today