Here's an interesting story I posted on the mobiliser blog:
I am interested to learn about International Data Roaming Pricing
in Japan. Is it that funny, too?
<mobiliser blog post>
International Data Roaming Pricing Joke
Let me tell you the International Data Roaming Pricing Joke that I found
today on Vodafone Germany’s website. It might even be funny if you are
not a victim.
Many Digital Lifestyle Consumers out there want to have affordable
access to the Mobile Internet. If they are mobile they might cross
borders with their laptops and devices from time to time. This obviously
has an effect on the monthly data bill they get.
Let’s find out if Vodafone, the MNO with the biggest international
footprint, offers affordable data plans and let’s check how the data
plan changes when you leave Germany and dataroam into other countries.
At CeBIT 2006 Vodafone announced the new data plan for heavy mobile data
users called “Vodafone WebConnect Fair Flat National”. This data plan
goes like this: €49,30 per 5 GB (yeah, this flat rate is capped, too).
If you exceed the 5GB during 2 consecutive months you will be charged
€0,58 per MB for any data volume above 5 GB per month. This translates
into €580/GB for your 6th/7th/… GB per month. If you ever think about
downloading a movie over “UMTS Broadband” (UMTS HSDPA with 1,8 Mbps peak
downlink speed) you better forget about it and do it at home over your
DSL connection. Moreover, in the footnote Vodafone states that starting
from 08.07.07 Vodafone will block the usage of VoIP if you are a Fair
Flat National customer. So you better don’t get too much into VoIP over
UMTS until then.
Basically this pricing translates into €10 per GB for the first 5 GB. I
really wonder why they don’t keep this pricing if their customers
overshoot the 5 GB cap per month. As I don’t want to speculate here
about Vodafone’s motivation for this over-5GB-pricing I will wait until
a Vodafone executive explains it to me.
If you book the Vodafone Fair Flat National you have to commit for 24
months and €1182,30 (24 x €49,30). That’s a lot of money. I wonder if
this pricing will be reduced automatically for existing Fair Flat
National customers by the time data prices go down over the course of
the next 2 years. Most probably not.
Now it get’s funny: What happens if you have the Vodafone Fair Flat
National and you dataroam into other countries? Well, then you pay extra
- not a little but a lot. On top of the Fair Flat National you can book
a volume data tariff called “Vodafone International XXL” that is only
valid in the Vodafone footprint countries. Vodafone International XXL
offers you 100 MB for €87,00 or 1GB for €870,00. This is funny: If you
are a Vodafone Germany customer you get 1GB for roughly €10 inside
Germany and you pay €870,00 for 1GB if you roam into other Vodafone
If you don’t book Vodafone International XXL to get a price advantage in
foreign Vodafone networks you are offered the standard conditions for
consuming data in foreign countries and they go like this: In foreign
West-European Vodafone networks you pay €2,90/MB, in foreign networks of
group 2 (e.g. Sonera in Finland) you pay €6,90/MB and in foreign
networks of group 3 (e.g. Orange Israel) you pay €12,90/MB. This pricing
is even more funny: It sums up to €2.900/GB, €6.900/GB or even
€12.900/GB. If you don’t believe me please go to Vodafone’s website and
research the data plans in foreign countries on your own.
Dataroaming as a Vodafone customer makes you a poor man immediately. If
your company pays your bill then you are lucky but your company isn’t.
I hereby recommend Vodafone and all the MNOs they do data roaming
agreements with to thoroughly reconsider what they are actually offering
to Digital Lifestyle Consumers that are crossing borders from time to
time. It’s the biggest data pricing joke I have ever heard. But, it’s
not a joke. It’s Vodafone’s International Data Roaming Pricing Reality
as of 31 March 2006.
Go and find an Internet Cafe, dude!
</mobiliser blog post>
Jan Michael Hess
Received on Fri Mar 31 14:08:32 2006