Vodafone data: roam me if you can
Most everyone has heard by now that Vodafone is dropping roaming charges for phone calls and text for the summer. To get this service, you have to sign up to Vodafone Passport.
But if you plan to use data abroad, beware, as the data roaming rates are the same.
You might want to wait until July 1 when the ceilings for international roaming charges set by the European Parliament go into effect. After July 1, the most you'll pay for mobile phone surfing in Europe is €1 per MB, or approximately 90p per megabyte of data. That is down from €1.68, which is approximately £1.50. In 2010, this figure will drop further to around 75p per megabyte, and in 2011, it will fall to 46p at current exchange rates.
But until July 1, Vodafone data access in Europe will cost you £5 per 25 MB on your phone. Data access in America and Australia will cost £15 per 25 MB on your phone. If you plan to use a laptop dongle to surf, double those rates.
But what about those with minimal Internet usage abroad?
Vodafone divides the world into three basic zones for calculating data rates. In Europe, which Vodafone designates as Zone 1, it's 50p for every 100KB of data while roaming up to 1 MB, when the £5 rate goes into effect. For Zone 2, which is pretty much everywhere except Zone 1, it's £1 for each 100 KB up to 1 MB, when the £10 rate takes over. There is also a Zone 3 that applies to remote locations, where it's a flat £5 per megabyte.
Lesson for Vodafone customers to carry with you on vacation? Talk all you can, but remember that Vodafone's data rates are not part of the Passport plan.