Will Smartphones Trigger Cheaper Roaming Charges?

One of the things that keep me from upgrading to an even more Internet connected device (or devices…) are the still very expensive roaming charges for Internet access. As I travel a lot I don't want to use my gadgets differently at home vs. when I travel abroad and there is sometimes just no time to buy a local prepaid SIM for Internet access.

However, I wonder if the trend to more connected devices will eventually bring a change here!? These days, smartphones of all shapes and forms are selling like hotcakes, mobile Internet use is growing strongly and new kinds of devices like tablets with built in 3G connectivity are also becoming popular.So I guess pressure from customers will rise once they discover how much it costs to use the devices they have integrated into their lives while on vacation or business abroad.

With voice and SMS, users can easily keep track of charges when abroad as the use of these service is charged by the minute or by the message. But with Internet connectivity, users have no idea how much data is transmitted by the e-mail client and other applications in the background. Widespread use only became popular once flatrates, potentially with a speed cap after a certain volume, where introduced. To me, it looks like the mobile Internet international roaming situation is at the same point as national use was a couple of years ago. Consequently, I hope international data roaming will also take a different direction than voice roaming did.

Maybe it will be seen as an incentive for some network operators to join forces and finally make data roaming affordable!? What do you think?

4 thoughts on “Will Smartphones Trigger Cheaper Roaming Charges?”

  1. Having used the iPhone without the data connection enabled whilst roaming, a compelling device quickly becomes an “also ran”.

    With LTE of course all operators will need to address this issue as the only roaming will be packet switched.

    I am really suprised that the multinational providers like O2/Telefonica, Vodafone, Orange etc do not encourage you to stay on their foreign networks when roaming – I guess we need to have standardisation support for “preferred network” when roaming.

  2. I am indeed often using Jajah on my Blackberry to make calls to Germany. The integration is nicely done, it is really easy to use, and it avoids me to pay the prohibitive fees for calling abroad that the french mobile operators would apply. Plus, often these are private calls, and I dont want my employer to pay for them… so for me definitely the answer is YES.

  3. In Taiwan, an operator is trying to have this data roaming service with one of the operators in Mainland China, in cater for many Taiwanese businessmen who travel between Taiwan and China with 2 phones.

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