The world of mobile phone tariffs is difficult enough to understand at home with a variety of operators offering different tariffs for bundles, off peak calls, roaming, data and more. Where the confusion really kicks in though is when you’re travelling overseas.
Few of us are without our mobile phones these days wherever we go and on holiday is another example. Ignore the problems that using mobiles for business calls causes between families whose intentions it was to ‘get away from it all’ and you’ve still got the cost of phone calls and texts, received calls and texts as well as the cost of data packets to contend with – all of which can still be shockingly high.
At some time in the past we’ve all come home from holiday, forgotten how much we’ve used our mobiles and then received bills for often five times the monthly average for our time overseas. Often there were charges that we weren’t aware of including being charged for receiving voicemail messages even if we hadn’t turned our phones on.
Help came for us travellers with a series of EU regulations that have reduced the extortionate and roundly condemned charges with the latest passed in June of last year when regulation number 531/2012 set the rules to apply on roaming charges throughout the EU.
The limits introduced by the regulations took effect from 1st July last year and will change to yet lower charges from the 1st July this year. Within the next few weeks, calls made within the EU will drop from 29c a minute to 24c whilst calls received will reduce from 8c to 7c a minute. SMS/text messages received are free whilst outgoing texts drop from 9c to 8c.
Whilst we may meekly accept these charges, however fair or unfair we think they are, it’s still worth travellers checking the cost of getting a local SIM card as the charges we often accept are the maximum that phone companies can charge and many local operators abroad offer much cheaper rates. In Cyprus for example, MTN offer phone calls to the UK for 9c a minute whilst text messages can cost as little as 4c. Other ways to save include getting a phone code card from suppliers such as Tesco which, when entered before a dialled number, reduce the call charges.
Do your homework before your trip and you’ll avoid a nasty shock when you return!