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Data roaming charges: Mobile web access abroad

It’s clear that surfing the web abroad is still an expensive affair but hopefully this summer we’ll see some much-needed competition in this sector. Mobile broadband roaming rates are to be capped at £45 from March onwards so the networks have plenty of time to sort something out. In case you do want to go over the £45 cap, we’ve taken a quick look at all the roaming rates and add-ons available on all of the major networks.

T-Mobile – T-Mobile’s ‘Euro Broadband Boosters’ (available from the 1st of March) give you set amounts of usage which you can top up whenever you need it. Packages start at £1 for 3MB which lasts for up to 15 minutes – useful if you want to quickly check a few emails. The 20MB package costs £5 and gives you 2 hours worth of surfing online whereas £10 gets you 50MB to be used up over a 24 hour period. The big £40 package gives you 200MB of usage and lasts for up to a month. Out of bundle charges for T-Mobile work out at £1.50 per MB in the EU and £7.50 per MB anywhere else in the world.

Orange – While we couldn’t find any additional data bundles for Orange mobile broadband for surfing abroad we did make a note of their out of bundle charges. Browsing on an Orange mobile broadband connection costs £3 per MB in the EU and £6.46 per MB for the rest of the world.

Vodafone – Standard out of bundle charges for using your laptop in Europe work out at £10 per 50MB of usage, and £30 per 50MB everywhere else in the world. 50MB roughly works out at a mere 5 hours of standard browsing – not as good value for money then. Vodafone offers some pretty competitive rates with it’s Vodafone Passport service but this is currently only for voice calls and not (yet) for mobile broadband.

3 – Rather fittingly 3’s out of bundle roaming rates for mobile broadband are split into three bands. It costs £1.25 per MB to go online in Data Band 1 countries (the EU and selected European countries such as Switzerland). Browsing in Data Band 2 regions (including the USA, Australia, Japan and Turkey) costs £3 per MB. For all other areas not covered (Data Band 3) it costs £6 per MB to surf.

O2 – O2 mobile broadband customers on a pay monthly contract can sign up for one of two data abroad bolt-ons. ‘Data Abroad 10’ costs £20 and gives you 10MB of usage. ‘Data Abroad 50’ costs £50 and gives you 50MB of usage. Both plans last for up to a month, so you don’t have to use everything up in a day (although we suspect that you would with the Data Abroad 10 bolt on). Out of bundle charges work out at £3 per MB for roaming in EU countries and £6 per MB elsewhere.

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