Abroadband is a relative newcomer to the mobile market. Yet the recent European data cap has highlighted the operator’s low cost roaming charges.
At only €0.59 per megabyte for roaming worldwide, larger mobile operators are currently lagging behind. Despite the regulations imposed on data use in the EU, providers are still able to offer their customers unlimited internet for whatever price they decide upon. A survey conducted by ZDNet earlier this year showed 80% of users reporting excessive roaming bills but has not stopped operators from charging higher prices. (source: www.zdnet.co.uk)
The abroadband model is thrown into sharper focus when the roaming charges across all networks are compared. For other operators lower prices per megabyte are only available when bundles are purchased. The cheapest ‘out-of-bundle’ price comes from ‘3’. At €1.46 this is still €0.87 cents more expensive then the abroadband flat rate. (sources: www.zdnet.co.uk & www.abroadband.com). The roaming charges from other operators also vary from country to country which is another reason for such wide customer dissatisfaction.
Why does it cost so much to access the internet abroad from our phones? Operators cite high costs to connect customers to foreign networks as a reason.
“High wholesale data rates are the problem.” David Dyson, CEO, 3 UK
This is difficult to understand when you take into account the actual data cost operators are charged when using foreign networks. Hugh Davis also from 3, claims that data roaming prices bear no relation to underlying costs which are between 1-3p per megabyte (source: www.zdnet.co.uk).
The reason for such high charges comes down to a simple issue: profit margins. In fact the head of roaming for Orange Yves Martin was quoted by Zdnet as saying: “Right now, the mobile operators are a bit stuck into low domestic data prices”. Higher roaming rates allow the operators to gain back the profit they can lose in the domestic markets.
As other operators are beginning to enter the roaming market at more competitive rates, abroadband has been ahead of the game for most of the year. The options available to customers are easy to understand and are not misleading. Features include a cost calculator to enable users to plan how much they need to spend when travelling. Both sim cards and a dongle are available to access the global roaming service from 52 countries worldwide. There are no hidden costs or traps. The website lays out all the charges in a pdf available to download. Users can even compare worldwide roaming fees with larger operators.
Avoiding high data charges has become an international vendetta. Being able to do so successfully is a challenge. Smartphone use is on the increase and the roaming market has become more competitive. Yet abroadband have demonstrated the need for operators to lower their prices.