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Vodafone Scraps Roaming Charges For Summer

Gordon Kelly


Vodafone Scraps Roaming Charges For Summer

Could this be one of the most significant announcements to hit mobile phone networks in a very long time?

Out of the blue Vodafone has announced it will be abolishing international roaming charges for both pre-pay and pay monthly customers during a three month evaluation period this summer.

Starting 1 June, the trial will be available to all customers who register for Vodafone's long running 'Passport' service. This will then see calls, texts and MMS messages simply extracted from their regular plan allowances - or in the case of pre-pay: at standard pricing. 35 countries will be covered in the plan, so deep breath:

Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Channel Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroes, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Vatican City, New Zealand and Australia.

On top of this from tomorrow Vodafone will cut the cost of pre-pay calls to mobiles and landlines from the US, Canada and China to as little as 5p per minute. Calls to 54 more countries will be charged at just 5ppm to landlines and 15ppm to mobiles.

"These are two great value offers for our customers this summer," said Vodafone UK consumer director Ian Shepherd. "With our Vodafone Passport promotion you can sit on the beach with your phone switched on knowing you can take and make a call just as you would if you were in your back garden."

Now this is hugely exciting news and something we expect will go down very well with consumers. The big question therefore is will Vodafone eventually make the trial permanent and will it force other telcos to follow its lead?

With one euro per megabyte data roaming charges also on the horizon getting your mobile phone out whilst on holiday may no longer be a nerve jangling experience...


Vodafone Passport


May 14, 2009, 6:59 pm

Wow, hats of to them, that's a good deal. How much is the Passport option as i can't find it on the Vodafone website?


May 14, 2009, 7:11 pm

Yes! Yes! Yes! This is very very good news indeed - I hope it paves the way to a more sensible way of communicating internationally!

Hamish Campbell

May 14, 2009, 7:37 pm

Well admittedly 3 has had this for a few countries for quite some time, and not just a period, and not an add on.

But I agree, good stuff.


May 14, 2009, 7:47 pm

@Simon - Passport is free. Simply sign up for it and you'll be up and running once the trial starts.


May 14, 2009, 7:47 pm

Excellent! Lets hope the rest follow their lead...

Alex 4

May 14, 2009, 7:54 pm

@ Simon:

I've had passport for three years now and it was just added on to my contract from the start at no cost. Try ringing them to get it activated.

Just need to make sure my phone stays on a Vodafone network while abroad. Has a tendency to change without me noticing!

Alistair B

May 14, 2009, 9:24 pm

I'm moving to New Zealand where the price and value of mobile tariffs are horrendous. If they make this permanent it might even be worthwhile signing a contract over here and taking it with me. Now if they could also bundle unlimited data tariffs within this passport option then I'd be sold! Unlikely I know....


May 15, 2009, 1:22 am

now, as Alex highlighted, to use this "Passport" thingy and not get stung for roaming charges, do you have to be connected to the foreign Vodafone netowkr or does it work regardless of which local carrier your phone defaults to?


May 15, 2009, 3:31 am

Yes please! Now O2 just needs to follow suit, and I will be a happy man :) I fly to Germany on a regular basis and I dare not use any data over there, a few seconds of Google Maps or something ends up costing me £5-10. What ever happened to the coverage sharing we heard about between Vodafone and O2 by the way?


May 15, 2009, 5:59 am

Now if Vodafone will lead the industry and stop charging Deaf people every month for Voice Calls they can rarely use 8 million users in the UK alone might switch providers.

Deaf people need Email - Instant Messaging - Gtalk, TEXT not hundreds of free voice mins.

Tony Walker

May 15, 2009, 6:57 am


Go on the beach to relax and just get the beeps and ringtones to ruin your holiday.

I think I'll find a new beach pastime - skimming mobiles - they're actually quite an agreeable shape for that. The bonus is the phone won't work again with a great dollop of salt water inside. Result!


May 15, 2009, 3:18 pm

@DevGuy> Coverage sharing between O2 and Vodafone will take many months to complete and see the benefits. This has nothing to do with customer billing as both networks will still charge customers independently. It's up to O2 to decide how and when they follow this action.

Gavin Hamer

May 15, 2009, 5:26 pm

I was under the impression that the story about O2 and Vodafone sharing networks was a load of bunk, no?



May 15, 2009, 8:53 pm

@Gavin - no. http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

Gavin Hamer

May 16, 2009, 1:01 am

Are you sure you're sure? I'm not convinced. The article from El Reg was the following day from yours.

The key quote from the TR version is from the Telefonica CEO saying "...giving our customers enhanced mobile coverage in more places, using fewer mast sites".

The key quote from the Reg version is from the O2 CTO, "This is purposely not about radio equipment," Derek McManus of O2 told us, "As well as power supplies we'll be sharing air conditioning and making space in each other's cabinets - we've never done that before."

For me, the first quote is ambiguous. If it's about sharing cabinets and locations, then they will be able to deliver better coverage from fewer mast sites by being able to pick the optimum spots to put their masts.

After all the fuss about network sharing, I doubt either would be keen to clarify and dent their own share prices.

I would be delighted to be proved wrong, but that's the way it reads to me.

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