Data Roaming Rates

July 27th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Vodafone has (for now) a data roaming rate of $2/MB when in Australia. On both of my recent trips to Aussie, I have kept my data on when roaming, as I decided a cost of $2/MB was affordable. So Vodafone got to make money from my roaming.

In Hong Kong and the UK, the roaming costs $10/MB. This is better than the old rates of $30/MB but still just too expensive. So what I have done is turned of data when roaming, and instead connect to wireless networks when I can find them.

This means that Vodafone makes no money at all from my roaming.

I’m overseas for a month. I could easily do 5 MB/day which at $2 would be $10 a day or $300 for the month. I wouldn’t be happy paying $300 for a month of overseas data roaming, but I would do so.

However no way would I pay $1,500 at $10/MB let alone $4,500 at the old $30/MB plan.

So if the telcos (Vodafone NZ can’t do it unilaterally) can get the price of data roaming down to semi-reasonable levels, I think they would be surprised by how much more people would use data overseas.

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23 Responses to “Data Roaming Rates”

  1. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    They probably figure they make more money out of people who don’t realise what the charge is going to be, than they lose from people who do

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  2. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    Same with motel rates for wireless broadband. Ridiculously high rates have just made everyone buy mobile usb connectors. If they’d been reasonable about it, using wireless supplied by motels/ hotels may have been viable. In the US wireless is just part of the service. NZ is still plagued with a legion of greedy ignoramuses.

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  3. Robert Mapplethorpe (119 comments) says:

    How odd. I thought that was how a market operated.

    Sellers set prices. Buyers negotiate price, buy or decline, as they see fit.

    The greedy get outbid by the less greedy, the less greedy get bought by the wealthier until there are just 2 major players and the price is whatever the market will bear.

    So, red, how do YOU see a makrket operates?

    You’re not pitcj=hing for prices to be regulated, are you?

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  4. MarkF (102 comments) says:

    @ Redbaiter

    “In the US wireless is just part of the service. NZ is still plagued with a legion of greedy ignoramuses.”

    Not true, in Las Vegas last week, Hotel charged me USD$15 per day for broadband, and slow broadband at that, too many users.

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  5. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    “in Las Vegas last week”

    Never been to Vegas. I’d say there are exceptions, but in all the hotels I have used over a number of years and many different regions I have never been charged.

    “You’re not pitcj=hing for prices to be regulated, are you?”

    Go away you boring fool. The answer to your question is in my post. If you were possessed of even average intelligence you would have perceived there was no need to subject readers to such a display of idiocy. The question is not the least relevant. It is only narrow minded clods like you, almost completely bereft of intelligence and imagination, who would immediately reach for government regulation as the only applicable solution.

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  6. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    Quadrant Hotel in Auckland does free wifi for guests. Can recommend that hotel as good value.

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  7. Say Goodbye to Hollywood (461 comments) says:

    That’s interesting you had to pay for wireless while you were in Vegas Mark. I was there in April and it was part of the room deal. When I was in Orlando it was free in the lobby area.

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  8. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Would Vodafone make money if its roaming rate were $2/MB in Hong Kong? (serious question)

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  9. anonymouse (705 comments) says:

    Vodafone’s provider in HK (smartfone) charge $2/MB for prepay data, but this is HK dollars and capped at $HK 48/day.
    About 35c NZ/MB, plenty of fat in there for vodafone NZ to resell at $2/MB NZD

    http://www.smartone-vodafone.com/jsp/business/mobile_broadband/english/flexi.jsp?q=1&w=7&e=3&r=1&open=0#smc

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  10. peterwn (3,335 comments) says:

    OK, there may be a problem with roaming between different telcos. However one would think that Vodafone as a matter of international company policy would set their ‘own’ international roaming rates such as to maximise overall profit.

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  11. dime (10,215 comments) says:

    what the hell is a motel??

    I use data when in Honk Kong & China. The bill never hurts. Thats usin a blackberry though, great compression.

    Lots of free wifi in HK.

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  12. MarkF (102 comments) says:

    @ Say Goodbye to Hollywood

    True it’s inconsistant. Stayed at a Holiday Inn in central Pennsylvania, WiFi was free and fast. Bellagio in LV was $15/day and therfore I suspect that all of the MGM Mirage hotels would be the same.

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  13. Storm (15 comments) says:

    @mark Must be a ploy to get everyone to the tables instead of staying in their room surfing the web :)

    @dime Motel is a hotel for motorists, often cheaper than hotels, have kitchen and parking.

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  14. PaulL (5,449 comments) says:

    Robert: how a market operates is sellers set whatever price they want. Buyers decide to buy or not. Forums like this one provide room for commentary, provide a back channel for sellers to understand how they might refine their product. Companies with new ideas enter, competition drives down prices. Over time the product becomes commoditised, and sellers have to either add value, or become a lost cost provider. In little old NZ, our small size plus the economies available to a large company in a commoditised market mean that often competition consolidates, and innovation stagnates. If we’re careful to manage costs of entry (network effects, interconnection rates etc), sooner or later some new startup challenges. If we allow massive costs of entry to grow, then we’re just stuck with crappy service.

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  15. dime (10,215 comments) says:

    @ storm – they sound horrible

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  16. kiwi in america (2,314 comments) says:

    MarkF
    Vegas IS the exception – as are a few of the high end chains. All others in the US and Canada have free wifi. Ive only ever had to pay in Vegas – never anywhere else. Sadly US cell phone carriers, who are very affordable with domestic data and phone plans, similarly indulge in extortion and gouging to those who roam overseas. I have an unlocked wifi stick and when in NZ for anything longer than a week I just get the $79 GB plan from Vodafone on their no fixed term plan and I cancel it at the end of my time in NZ. Ive never had to pay more than the $79 which in USD is the same as my AT&T unlimited mobile data plan per month. Next time I travel to Europe I plan to do the same.

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  17. Nigel (493 comments) says:

    US hotels are starting to bring back charging for internet, corp rate includes it, but they have been hurting badly.

    Singapore was something like $15NZD day for net access that was about the speed of Telecom 2G & about as reliable.

    NZ accommodation on the other hand makes me wonder if they just can’t be arsed getting wifi sorted & instead are “encouraging” you to use data cards.

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  18. MarkF (102 comments) says:

    @ Storm

    Good point, well made.

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  19. Say Goodbye to Hollywood (461 comments) says:

    I stayed at The Signature at MGM Grand and like I said it was part of the room deal. The one thing I struggled with while in Vegas was the shitty mobile phone connections.

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  20. insider (845 comments) says:

    For VF and TC it is a hassle to negotiate and settle international roaming agreements plus there is risk around billing. The high rates reflect those two factors, and that their focus is on the 99% of customers who don’t require roaming 99% of the time.

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  21. mattyroo (1,030 comments) says:

    Vodafone = Thieving fucking cunts.

    As someone whom travels regularly and uses sweet FA data on my mobile, but lots of airtime minutes, I pay extortionate amounts to these bastards. I regularly have >$6000 phone bills.

    The thing that really shits me about them is, if I have pre-pay, I pay the same price for calls on the VF network in OZ, and between Oz ad NZ, as I would in NZ, but on a plan, I’m stuck with the extortionate rates.

    Don’t even get me started on the rates I pay when I go to butt-fuck West Africa.

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  22. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    Every time I go overseas I pick up a local prepay simcard. Generally credit is included with the sim purchase, and you get a local number so calls/txts are pretty cheap (c.f. NZ phone calls). Obviously no-one can call you unless they know your new number, but in a different time-zone that’s not a bad thing.

    In terms of hotel charges, I remember staying in a hotel next to a backpackers. The hotel had extortionate, out-of-touch, prices for the internet, the backpackers had free wifi if you stayed there. Isn’t it the same with even phone calls? Don’t the hotels charge even for local usage? It’s cheaper to use your cellphone (unless you’re roaming with Vodafone).

    I think hotels depend on lazy businessmen/politicians who just pay the over-priced fee, then claim it back or put in on the council card.

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  23. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    So, red, how do YOU see a makrket operates?

    You’re not pitcj=hing for prices to be regulated, are you?

    I think he wants a system where a proportion of hotel fees are taken off each guest and pooled. These pooled funds are then used to pay for internet which all users will share. This way all users have access to the internet while they stay there. By allowing everyone access, it helps abolish the differential between the rich guests and poor guests.

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