Idiots beware! You might run up a massive bill on your smartphone when abroad!

22 March 2010

Bitterwallet - new iPhone contractsMeddling consumers' association Which! have been throwing their collective arms up in despair and warning that, if you're staggeringly dim, you could easily run up an enormous bill on your smartphone is you keep using it when you're abroad.

This all comes about because, by July 1st, new rules will be enforced in the EU which will cap bills for downloading data.

[Cues up sinister music]

Until then, no person travelling in Europe is safe. Innocent iPhone users and people holding a Nexus One or Nokia could be idly tip-tapping away, completely oblivious to the peril that awaits their return... an unlimited bill!

So, let's say you're away on your jollies or working abroad and you're absolutely determined to make everyone you know on Facebook want to unfriend you because of your relentless updates about beautiful sunsets, sunburn, friendly waiters and hideous pictures of your toothless children in shit hats enjoying an ice-cream on the beach,  you may well assume that the bill won't need checking because at home, you have unlimited downloads.

Right? Of course, that's presuming you're stupid enough to repeatedly ignore the constant roaming messages and the like sent to you by your phone operator and all that. Presuming that you're such a dribbling simpleton that, like one fella, got charged £41,000 after downloading a television programme onto his phone.

According to research by Which!, people using smartphones abroad can pay up to £8 for every megabyte downloaded. That's the equivalent of one email with a photo attachment. They also reckon that a ten minute video clip and five music tracks could cost as much as £200.

Anyway, this could all stop as the new Dimwit Law is coming in which will see you protected by new rules to limit bills for data downloading. Basically, from the 1st July (this year) there will be a default limit of 50 euros (£45) a month.

Until then, it's up to you to use your brain if you've got one.



  • Jase
    Once again, I have no sympathy for the guy with the £41,000 was self-inflicted. If you think that the unlimited usage spans to a different country, even though you're told that roaming charges apply when you step foot outside the UK...then you probably shouldn't be using a smartphone, or a mobile phone come to think of it.
  • iDiot
    Anyone who is daft enough to buy an iPhone deserves everything they get!
  • Junkyard
    Capping the bill doesn't change the fact that the charges are ridiculous in the first place. If they charged anything like a reasonable rate, they might make their money from people deliberately using roaming services, which only a gibbering idiot would possibly do at the moment.
  • me
    I agree with Junkyard in the sense that if they charged a reasonable price, people would likely use the service on purpose. Having said that I also think £45 is quite fair - particularly if you were in the country for a full 30 days and took full advantage of the internet every day.
  • Mick T.
    Perhaps there should be an IQ test for potential SmartPhone users, you can only have one if your IQ is higher than the phones.
  • Gunn
    There should be a default cap, how any company can believe as user would pay £1000's to use their phone abroad.
  • parpparp
    So this is a dunce cap for smart phones?
  • GH
    I just bought myself a shiny new nexus one the other week, fantastic device, but it is data hungry, with normal usage it can pull down about 40-100megs a day. My only problem is I'm off to poland for several weeks, and there's no real data plan in the UK that covers that kind of usage abroad. Looks like I'll have to try and find myself a Polish sim card to use It would be nice if you could pay something like £10-20 for unlimited abroad data (at least in europe). Currently you can get bolt ons which make roaming calls less prohibitive for not much money. With high speed mobile networks becoming more prevalent it's time for a change. I can't image it costing the phone companies much money for you to use data roaming in japan for example.
  • FatalException
    GH, there's a little tickbox on your Nexus that says "Enable Data Roaming" or something like that. If data roaming is disabled you get no data usage other than WiFi. I took my Nexus to Amsterdam and managed not to run up a massive bill, even when monged out of my head.
  • The B.
    Nexus one? July 1st? What are the chances it'll be available on contract by then?
  • Steff
    happened to someone I know with an iphone, he paid over £200 for "nothing"
  • vivah
    Avoid international roaming It’s a no-brainer that activating the international roaming service on your cellphone while travelling abroad would burn a huge hole in your pocket. Instead, you could opt for SIM cards provided by operators like Matrix / clay / reliance passport etc. that work as local SIMs in your destination country. This option also scores over buying a local SIM upon reaching the destination, especially if your trip spans multiple countries, since buying a new SIM each time you visit a different destination is a needless hassle.
  • Matrimonial
    Capping the bill doesn’t change the fact that the charges are ridiculous in the first place. If they charged anything like a reasonable rate, they might make their money from people deliberately using roaming services, which only a gibbering idiot would possibly do at the moment.
  • Matrimony
    Thanks for Share this information with us...good for everyone who looking for this type of information..

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