Data Roaming: Vodafone take the lead with stress-free packages
Data roaming abroad is a stressful experience. With costs per megabyte ranging up to £10, it's a foolhardy roamer who downloads a movie or spends too much time watching clips. Prompted by real horror stories, the EU has clamped down, successfully it seems, on roaming charges. But it still pays to be very careful.
Vodafone has long offered attractive packages for roaming. Now they have gone further by offering a capped £2 per day European phone roaming package providing up to 25Mb of data. This is enough for normal usage, including emails, syncing apps and web browsing. I'm a fairly heavy user of the iPhone, although I seldom download videos, and my usage statistics show a total of 1.23 GB used in just over five and a half months. This is under 8MB a day, a surprisingly low figure. Sometimes it's easy to overestimate the amount of data being used.
For laptop or iPad data users Vodafone have a daily charge package of £9.99 for the first 50Mb used within Europe. As with the phone, a text message is sent when reaching the limit. And as a further precaution, all users have a daily spending cap of £34 to help prevent unwelcome surprises after a holiday.
If all else fails and you do exceed the daily allowance, the Vodafone cost per MB is a fairly reasonably £1. O2 is my current iPhone service provider and their European roaming charges now compare very unfavourably with Vodafone's. Every megabyte used abroad in Europe is charged at £3, so where Vodafone charge £2 for 25Mb the cost at O2 would be £75. Vodafone now charge less for 25Mb than O2 do for 1Mb.
So there is no contest. Tomorrow I'll be having an interesting conversation with O2 Customer Services.