Mark Hunter MP asks holidaymakers: Do you know the true price of surfing on the beach?

August 4, 2008 2:48 PM
Mobile Phone

Mobile phone users should check the cost of calling and browsing the web before they leave on holiday

With the holiday season upon us, Mark Hunter MP is urging local holidaymakers to be aware of unexpectedly high mobile phone costs when they travel abroad this summer.

The new 'Eurotarrif', while reducing the costs of calls overseas, does not include the cost of using the web, emails or texting. This means that prices will often be vastly different to those people are used to and expect whilst at home.

There have been many cases reported recently by Ofcom of people receiving enormous unexpected bills for apparently normal use of their mobile phones whilst abroad. This can include downloading data, surfing the internet, retrieving voicemail messages, or even just receiving a voicemail message. In one instance the use of a mobile phone to surf the web in France for just 15 minutes resulted in a charge of over £400.

Mark is joining Ofcom in calling for reduced costs for sending texts and downloading data whilst abroad, with Ofcom warning that further regulatory action will take place if action is not taken.

Mr Hunter said "By using these mobile phones and devices in the same way when overseas people don't realise they could run up bills of hundreds or even thousands of pounds. Downloading a 79p song can really cost £20."

"I'm urging everyone who is heading overseas this summer to make sure that when they sort out their holiday insurance and foreign currency, they also check the cost of using their mobiles abroad. The last thing people want when they get back from their summer break is a huge bill sitting on the doormat."

There are several easy steps that you can take both before your holiday in order to avoid these charges. Before you depart check the compatibility of your handset and the prices you will be charged. This will help you to know what prices to expect from mobile phone use abroad, and possibly give you the opportunity to change to a different, or international, package if it would provide a better deal. To avoid voicemail costs it is possible to switch off your voicemail before travelling, and you should also keep a copy of the contact details of your operator with you to ensure that you can get in touch with them in case of the loss or theft of your mobile.

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