O2 Telefónica To Significantly Reduce Data Roaming Charges
Telefónica has announced a package of pricing propositions that will offer its European customers major reductions in the cost of using mobile data services whilst travelling.
Consumers in Spain, the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic and Ireland will benefit from cuts of more than 40% in data roaming prices, while the cost of sending a text message home from anywhere in the European Union falls to a maximum of €0.32 + VAT. For business travellers who wish to stay connected while abroad, a new roaming bundle provides worldwide access to data at a price equivalent to €1 per megabyte (MB). These changes form an important part of the company’s continuing drive to increase the transparency and simplicity of mobile charges.
O2 businesses and movistar in Spain will implement a range of new data roaming tariffs aimed at consumers travelling within Europe ahead of this year’s summer holiday season in July. These will include both significant reductions in the per-MB price and the introduction of time-based charging principles, such as daily rates. The resultant savings for customers will be anything between 42% and 80% over November 2007 prices.
Recognising the ever-increasing popularity of text messaging as a way of staying in touch, both prepay and postpay consumers will, starting from early February, pay no more than €0.32 to send an SMS from any EU country – representing a reduction of up to 49% on current prices. The new rate will apply to all customers by April. It will cost nothing to receive a text.
O2 and movistar business customers, who typically have much heavier data access and download requirements, can take advantage of a highly competitive new data bundle. For a flat monthly fee of €50, business travellers may use 50MB of data on any roaming partner network worldwide. At €1 per MB, this is particularly attractive to multi-national customers, as it allows them to benefit from a single tariff wherever they travel. The package is available now in Spain, the UK, the Czech Republic and Ireland and will be introduced in Germany in the second quarter of 2008.
Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefónica O2 Europe, said: “This initiative follows similar innovation by Telefónica in voice roaming, with the introduction last year of our highly successful My Europe roaming price plans – the first to completely remove charges for receiving calls abroad. Today’s announcement honours the promise we made to customers at that time that, having reduced the cost of calling whilst abroad, we would bring down the last barrier in roaming charges – data. Importantly, it also addresses the issue of transparency where, for too long, customers have been confused by a plethora of tariffs and fees. The published rate will apply across the board – regardless of the mobile network used.”
“We remain absolutely committed to delivering the best value to our customers and are proactively looking to further reduce the wholesale inter-operator tariffs (IOTs) in order to pass on additional benefits to users.”
Telefónica also intends to increase the transparency of data roaming prices and reduce the possibility of bill shock by combining its simple tariff schemes with a range of usage monitoring tools. From March 2008, mobile laptop users will be able to monitor their data usage in real time via their ‘Connection Manager’ software, while all roaming customers will automatically receive a text message containing SMS, data and voice pricing information. In addition, O2 and movistar customers will not incur penalties if their phone selects a non-preferred network – removing any potential concerns about hidden charges.