So Vodafone has announced that it is abolishing (for the most part) mobile roaming rates for a grand total of three months this summer. Over 35 European countries (some reports say as many as 43) will be part of the new roaming system, which allows Vodafone customers to call and text at the exact same rate as they pay at home. Data rates are not included though, so be careful about your mobile Internet usage. The only requirement is that you have to sign on to Vodafone’s Passport scheme… which is free, so that’s all right.
What’s this Passport scheme then?
Passport would appear to be Vodafones method of keeping in line with the new EU regs that force them to bring the cost of mobile roaming down. Under the Passport scheme, all calls and texts made while abroad are at local rates – but you have to pay a connection fee first. Check out the price list:
From the release:
“These are two great value offers for our customers this summer. 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,” says Ian Shepherd consumer director for Vodafone UK. “Vodafone International is good news for the millions of UK pay as you go customers as they can now make calls to family and friends around the world from just 5p.”
What we think?
Huh… who’d have known they had it in them? After the way they’ve been fighting it, I had been expecting operators to make grudging concessions to the new EU mandated roaming schemes. But here’s Vodafone, jumping in at the deep end with a pretty good offer. Even after the three month honey-moon period is over, the Passport scheme isn’t all that bad. A 65c connection fee can really add up if you make lots of short phonecalls – but if you’re calling home for a good long chat, then it’s well worth it.