A brave and highly welcome move which could prove a turning point for the industry.
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…