A cap on the wholesale price of mobile data roaming rates in Europe doesn’t seem to be resulting in lower bills for users, with reports one Orange UK subscriber was recently billed £8,000 (€9,000) for mobile data access while working abroad.
The student used a dongle to connect to the Internet while on internship in France, believing he was entitled to 3GB of downloads under his existing tariff. In fact, Orange charges £2.94 per MB for anyone travelling abroad.
That works out at €3.32 per MB, and is someway higher than the €1 per MB wholesale charge introduced by the EU in July.
As a result, William Harrison received a bill for just over £6,000 after his first month roaming, despite deliberately restricting his usage to making Skype calls to avoid high charges, Think Broadband.com reports.
Harrison had run up an extra £2,000 before the dongle was blocked.
The carrier has offered to cut the bill in half and let the student pay the rest back over 2 years, after it emerged the dongle should have been restricted to £40 of usage per month.
The EU introduced the cap on wholesale data roaming charges last year, as part of a move to cut the overall cost of roaming. The data-charge element also requires member countries to introduce a cut-off mechanism to block access once a pre-agreed limit of €50 has been reached.
News of Harrison’s misfortune come a day after Virgin Media launched a range of new tariff’s for anyone who needs mobile Internet access while abroad (see separate story).