Saturday, June 30, 2012

Singapore and Brunei - Agreement to reduce each other's roaming rates

Today reports outline agreement to cut roaming rates between the two countries.
Information, Communications and the Arts Minister Yaacob Ibrahim and Brunei Communications Minister Abdullah Haji Bakar announced this today on the sidelines of a ministerial forum which was held as part of the annual Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2012.

Both ministers have tasked telecoms regulators of both countries to work with mobile operators to reduce roaming rates.

These include voice calls, SMS and data roaming service charges.

China - China Mobile is cutting roaming rates for the London Olympics

CRI English reports that China Mobile is to cut roaming rates for its customer in the UK for the Olympics and for all of July and August.
Subscribers who uses Vodafone's network will have to pay only 0.99 yuan (0.16 U.S. dollars) per minute for phone calls made or received during July 1 and August 31. Subscribers usually pay 1.99 yuan to make a call to the Chinese mainland.

Costs for sending a text message to the Chinese mainland will be lowered by 62 percent to 0.15 yuan. Receiving messages will be free.

Charges for the GPRS Internet roaming service will be slashed by 90 percent to 1 yuan per megabyte.

China Mobile said the move was a result of tough negotiations between itself and overseas telecommunications operators.

Japan - KDDI and Wi2 offering customer Wi-Fi roaming when abroad through the iPass network of networks

KDDI and Wire and Wireless Co., Ltd (Wi2) are now offering customers access to the iPASS wi-fi roaming service.

Tadashi Egawa, head of KDDI's Service Development and Wi-Fi Business Strategy Department, said:

KDDI wants to ensure our customers have a convenient way to data roam on Wi-Fi while they travel abroad," "Seamless access to a reliable Wi-Fi service beyond Japan is important to our globally mobile customers and iPass provides the leading Wi-Fi network worldwide that supports our carrier-grade Wi-Fi roaming needs.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

GSMA - 24 operators/groups undertake to send anti-bill shock roaming information to customers

EIN News reports a press release from the GSMA.

The GSMA is committed to working with mobile operators worldwide to adopt the following measures:

  • Sending text messages to remind customers of their data roaming tariffs when they arrive in another country and turn on their mobile device;
  • Implementing a monthly data roaming spending limit to help consumers manage their roaming bill and sending alerts when their data usage approaches the limit; and
  • Temporarily suspending data service when usage exceeds the spending limit.
In the first phase of this initiative, these [24] operators and their group subsidiaries have agreed to implement these data roaming transparency measures by the end of 2012, covering more than 4 billion mobile connections worldwide. The GSMA will also work to promote the adoption of these guidelines across its full membership base of nearly 800 mobile operators globally. Further, the GSMA will develop a trust mark that will identify to consumers that their mobile operator is implementing these measures.

Australia - Business travellers to Europe advised to use new local roaming offers to save money

Australian Business Traveller advises use of new offers from local operators when in Europe.
  • Virgin Mobile has 7-day Travel Passes available: £6 for 5MB, £12 for 10MB and £24 for 20MB. (No, there's no discount for buying bigger blocks.)
  • T-Mobile offers 7-day Euro Internet Boosters: £1 for 3MB, £5 for 20MB and £10 for 50MB.
  • O2 pay-as-you-go customers get charged £2 per day for up to 25MB of data outside the UK. Go over the 25MB and you can pay another £2.
  • Vodafone will charge £8 for up to 100MB per day.
  • Orange offers several data bundles (that's their page for using your phone in Germany) -- 30MB for £3 per day, or three monthly offers: £15 for 30MB over a month, £50 for 150MB over a month or £150 for 500MB over a month.

Monday, June 18, 2012

UK - Three offer roaming in the EU for £5 per day

the Independent reports the new roaming offer from 3 (Three) at £5 per day in the EU.

It quotes Ernest Doku, a telecoms expert at

Three was the first to bring unlimited data to UK customers, and now is leading the way in bringing affordable unlimited data to UK customers using their phones in the EU. The Euro Internet Pass should prove a sure-fire hit with holidaymakers, particularly for those who aren't going to be holidaying anywhere near a Wi-Fi hotspot
Mike Odysseas, the managing director of telecommunications provider Odyssey Systems said:
My personal solution is never to use the mobile network except for receiving texts. Do not even reply if not in a Wi-Fi area and only use hotels with free Wi-Fi. Phone calls can be made and received over Wi-Fi using various packages including Odyssey SIP clients or Skype, for example. This way you can ensure you don't get hung by your provider

Friday, June 15, 2012

UK - Three and Vodafone launch alternatives to the regulator roaming rates

PC Pro reports the new roaming tariffs from Three and Vodafone.
Three's all-you-can-eat £5 a day Euro Internet Pass is among the most generous to date, with the company promising no limits on browsing or uploading pictures within the EU.

However, the package - which can't be used for tethering - is only available to pay-monthly customers, and according to a spokesperson, pay-as-you-go users will still be charged by the MB, typically at £1.28/MB in countries such as France.

Whereas Vodafone's EuroTraveller plan allows UK contract customers to pay £3 per day for calls, text and a web allocation. Its Data Traveller offers all customers 25MB of data for £2, after which the charge is £1/MB.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lithuania-Russia - Ministries agree a Memorandum to reduce roaming rates

Telecom Paper quoting the Russian language Telecom-TASS:
The Russian ministry of communications and Lithuanian ministry of communications have signed a memorandum on international interconnect rates, Tass-Telecom reported. The rates will be reduced under the agreement. The memorandum has the support of Russian operators Rostelecom, Beeline, MTS and Megafon, as well as of Lithuanian operators Bite, Omnitel and Tele2 Lithuania. Roaming rates are expected to decrrease to LTL 1.5 from LTL 8-10 per minute for subscribers of Lithuanian operators using roaming services in Russia.
Obzor (Lithuania) carries a similar story, identifying the same operators.

Netherlands - NRA seeks extra 1.5 FTE to work on enforcement of new roaming rules from 1 July

Telecom Paper reports that OPTA is seeking an extra 1.5 FTE staff to work on the enforcement of extended rules for international mobile roaming, at least until 2015.

UK - the high cost of roaming to South Africa, which is not capped by the new Roaming III Regulation

This is Money notes the introduction of a retail price cap from Roaming III. It also warns:
But in the few weeks before that, the rates remain punitively high. And even after the new rules kick in, they will apply only to EU countries, leaving holidaymakers in other destinations risking huge bills, frequently of hundreds of pounds.
It reports a story of one UK resident visiting South Africa:
Fiona Chow, 33, of Wandsworth, south-west London, was hit with a £187 bill after a holiday in South Africa earlier this year.

Fiona, who works in marketing for an online ticket seller, says: ‘It was a real bolt from the blue. I had made sure I did not use the phone for any calls to limit charges. I only used my iPhone to occasionally check on my emails, log on to Facebook once and use a travel app a few times to find restaurants.’

Fiona has a phone package with 02 that included unlimited data downloads in Britain – but not abroad. 02 charges £6 per MB in South Africa.

Of course, one option is to buy a local SIM card in South Africa and use a pre-paid option to control spending.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Carrier software - Tangoe Inc has a solution for roaming bill shock including predictive analytics

Tangoe, Inc. a provider of communications lifecycle management (CLM) software and related services, has a "solution support" for EU roaming rules on "bill shock".
Tangoe's comprehensive CLM solutions, including Real-Time Telecom Expense Management (rTEM), provide visibility and control of mobile expenses for carriers and businesses, enabling compliance with the European Parliament's regulations regarding roaming on public mobile telephone networks and other potential regulations by government agencies around the world.
According to Daniel Rudich, SVP rTEM business development, Tangoe, Inc.
Tangoe's solutions take mandated roaming bill caps even further by offering predictive analytics and real-time usage alerts for end users, thereby enabling the elimination of excessive roaming costs before they are incurred. Tangoe's rTEM solutions provide mobile users with a comprehensive suite of solutions that can protect users from unexpected and costly overages in their mobile bills, allowing them to focus on growing their businesses and optimizing their workforce productivity.

USA - AT&T has announced roaming data bundles applicable in 135 countries

AT&T has announced a reduction of roaming rates.

AT&T Data Global Add-On packages cover 135 countries (see the list).

Beginning 1st June, the updated packages are as follows:

  • 120 MB Data Global Add-on package for $30/month
  • 300 MB Data Global Add-on package for $60/month
  • 800 MB Data Global Add-on package for $120/month
  • beyond the package data are charged at $30/120MB
  • one month minimum use required
General information about AT&T roaming.

UK - The outlook for roaming prices this summer, at least within the EU

Recombu reports on how the new EU roaming caps affect UK customers.
In many cases, looking at prices for bundles of data which you buy beforehand, prices are lower than the 55p per 1MB cap.

But where there are out of bundle costs, costs rise sharply, in most cases above £3 per 1MB. Speaking to representatives at networks, we’ve been told to expect these prices to change before the 1st of July.

It provides details of the tariffs offered by the principal operators.

Given the relative strength of the Pound against the Euro, the effects may be slightly less advantageous to UK resident.

Asia-Pacific - ITU-T has received the report of the APT working group on roaming

ITU-T Study Group 3 has received as a contribution [C 127] the Report of the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) working group on international mobile roaming. This covers:
  • Background of the International Mobile Roaming (IMR) Working Group (WG)
  • Survey on IMR
  • Transparency of IMR Information
  • Measures to Address Mobile Bill Shock
  • Substitutes for IMR Services
  • Regulation of IMR Prices
  • Works Undertaken by Regional and International Organisations on IMR
  • Other Issues
  • Next Step

Scandinavia - Telenor offer of cheaper roaming across the region under TravelSure brand

Telenor has announced a TravelSure branded service in Scandinavia.


  • Surf for just 49,- NOK per day for up to 30 megabyte in EU/EEA countries. Automatic SMS notification sent to customers who go over the 30 MB limit. Price beyond limit is 10 NOK/MB. Same price for mobile phone, pad and PC.
  • "Ring EU/EØS". Telenor-customers with a Komplett or Prat subscription can use their included minutes when they travel in all EU/EEA countries. Call set up fee 5,99,- NOK.
  • "Surf outside EU/EEA" with the lowest market price for USA and new, lower surf prices for Turkey, Switzerland, Croatia and Thailand 79,- NOK per day for up to 20 megabytes. Automatic SMS notification sent to customers who go over the 20 MB limit. Price beyond limit is 10 NOK/MB. Same price for mobile phone, pad and PC.
  • "Ring EU/EØS" and "Surf outside EU/EEA" launched mid June.
  • Further information.
  • In January 2012 Telenor Sweden launched Free Surf EU as a concept, followed in February by Free Surf USA (SEK 199 per day) and Free Surf China (SEK 249 per day). These packages provide the customers with uncapped Internet access for a fixed price per day. At 100 MB the speed will be reduced to GPRS-level.
  • On 22nd of May the roaming package "Free surf EU" was made available to all post-paid customers uncapped Internet access for SEK 79 per day in the EU, EES and Switzerland.
  • Further information.
  • For voice calls Telenor Denmark offers "Tryg tale i udlandet", a free service allowing customers to call within EU and Nordics for 5 DKK per call plus 0.59 DKK/min. for outgoing calls and 0 DKK/min for incoming calls.
  • For surfing abroad Telenor Denmark offers "Tryg surf i udlandet" for all consumer customers allowing customers to surf 20 MB/day in the EU or Nordics for 29 DKK/day. Up to 29 DKK the customer pays regular list price, and after the 20 MB the user is barred from further cost, until the customer requests more data with an SMS.
  • Further information

Australia - Warning story about the perils of roaming charges when overseas, especially data charges

The Courier Mail carries a piece about the dangers of high roaming charges.

It quotes Elise Davidson, Director of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network:

Our advice is, if you need to use your mobile when you're overseas only use it for texting. It's important that people call their providers before they go overseas if they have a smartphone and get data roaming switched off. If you're using the internet on your phone in other countries, it'll cost you a huge amount of money.

Austria - T-Mobile and Tele.ring have newly reduced roaming tariffs ahead of Roaming III Regulation

T-Mobile and Tele.Ring have announced new roaming offers.

There is no activation fee for the new offers.

T-Mobile Austria customers can select "Travel & Surf" with data volume of 3 MB for EUR 2 or 30 MB for EUR 5 valid for 24 hours. A so-called 'unlimited' pass, but with only 100MB costs EUR 20, valid for one week. Its telephony offer "Roaming Paket 35" includes 35 incoming and outgoing call minutes in Europe for EUR 5, and the "Roaming Paket 100" includes 100 minutes for EUR 19.

Tele.ring has a Daten-Roaming-Paket, with 50 MB for EUR 15 per month in the EEA. It offers Roaming Paket 35 as well as the Telefonie-Roaming-Paket, with free incoming calls, outgoing EU calls for EUR 0.25 per minute plus EUR 0.90 for the activation of a connection.