Data Roaming Bill Limit Lands Next Week

From next week travellers in the EU will be protected from running up massive bills for mobile data.

If you are abroad and using a mobile broadband dongle or one of the many smart phones with an always-on data connection, your data connection will be cut off if you hit a 50 Euro limit.  As soon as you reach 40 Euros you will be notified by your network, and given the option to lift the cap if you want to.

This new EU regulation comes in the wake of several recent stories of unwary travellers running up truly staggering bills whilst abroad. Last year, a student from Nottingham managed to run up a bill of nearly £8000 in a single month. William Harrison took a mobile broadband dongle to Paris with him for a summer internship and was clobbered by the monster bill after using skype to keep in touch with family and friends in the UK.

Even with the new regulations most of us will not want to run up a 50 Euro bill, so what can you do to protect yourself?

First and foremost, check what your network will charge you for data roaming, some networks will allow you to add a pre-paid data roaming bundle to your tariff.

Smartphones with always on data connections can catch you by surprise, they can connect to the internet automatically to check emails etc without you doing anything. Most smartphones will allow you to disable data roaming, so make sure you do this before you set off. The method varies from handset to handset so you may have to research a little.

Here’s an example of what you need to do with an HTC Desire, it’s similar on most Android based phones:

Go to Settings, choose Wireless Controls, then Mobile Network Settings. Next make sure the check box marked ‘Data Roaming‘ in un-checked and you’re good to go.

Happy Holidays.

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