The cost of GPRS roaming

Gears from reports on a ZDnet story about a business man roaming europa with a GPRS data card:

Using a 3G/GPRS card had cost him £769 for downloading data, at £8 a megabyte. The same amount of data would have cost him less than £10 to download in the UK.

“I was looking forward to using my Orange card while I was in France on holiday and Germany on business,” the businessman, Roger Steare, told ZDNet UK. “I was prepared to pay a premium and thought it might be four or five times what I pay in the UK — that’s a reasonable premium — I didn’t expect it to be 100 times the rate.”

Steare said he was “shocked and outraged” that he received no notice about running up such a massive bill simply by using the Orange card abroad. After downloading the data towards the end of September, the first he knew about how much he was charged was when he received his bill in October. “It’s frightening to think that I could have been charged even more and I wouldn’t have known anything about it,” he said. “At no time did they warn me what I would be charged. They say they post that on the Web site but it’s not easy to find, even when you are told it is there.”

That is the exact reason why I just recently cancelled my T-Mobile Blackberry account. While the cost for 10 MB of email were ok at about 20 Euros per month, there was no way I could justify the roaming charges. I’m travelling around europe a lot, and even when roaming in another countries T-Mobile network, they insist on capping on a 50 kilobyte block every hour. The way the Blackberry keeps the connection, this means paying 79 Eurocents per hour, plus a one-time fee of 49 Eurocents per day. Even when you don’t actually receive or send any emails at all, this means using a Blackberry around europe may cost you roughly 20 Euros per day.

At that rate, I’m not even considering using data while on the road.

Ain’t that ridiculous? I mean, all that means is after you’ve been ripped off once, you’ll simply stop using data services abroad. Is that really what the operators want you to do?

What makes it so hard to offer a pan-european data option AT A REASONABLE PRICE? Come on, you sure can do better than this…

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