O2 is clearly a company with big plans. In legion with its new Sugar Daddy Telefonica it has in the last week alone snaffled up ADSL2+ ISP ingénue Be for £50m and slapped down another £30m to buy a majority stake in flapping high street store The Link. Job done on the infrastructure the ambitious twosome are cutting call prices.
First port of call is European Roaming charges. From July users will now be presented with two offerings under the companies’ new ‘My Europe’ travel scheme. The first targets holidaymakers and is a free opt-in plan for both pre-pay and monthly contracted customers. It offers a 35p per minute flat rate charge for outbound and inbound calls across all EU territories, regardless of network.
As for the second it is aimed at the ‘high roamer’ (better known in anti-marketing speak as a frequent traveller) on a monthly contract. For an as yet unspecified price it allows customers to select a country or group of countries where outbound calls to other EU territories will be at prices comparable with domestic rates and all inbound calls are free.
‘My Europe’ still doesn’t obliterate the scourge of roaming but when you consider current O2 plans can hammer the customer for up to 85p per minute on a monthly contract and a maxes out at a ludicrous £1.49 per minute on pre-pay it marks a first sizeable step towards sanity.
Now if only all this wasn’t so heavily motivated by sluggish telecommunications regulator Ofcom’s laboured decision to finally get medieval on the asses of networks’ rip-off roaming charges I’d have a lump in my throat. As it is though, I’ll simply say: About bleedin’ time.