3 does away with roaming charges

Even the data ones...
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

Even the data ones...

3's customers will now be able to take their price plans on holiday with them, as the third-generation network joins rivals in cutting roaming costs.

As of this month, 3's customers will be able to make calls and use data services, such as text messaging, at the same prices as they do in the UK under 3's '3 Like Home' plan if they roam on 3's networks abroad.

3 users won't have to pay to receive calls from the UK but if they make outgoing calls to the foreign country they're in, they will be charged at the same rate as the locals.

The plan will also be rolled out to users in the other countries where 3 has a network: Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Sweden, Ireland and Italy.

A 3 spokesman told silicon.com the move "will not have a significant impact from a financial perspective".

Other operators have also made similar efforts in the roaming arena, including O2 which announced last year a £5 charge for 'all you can eat' free roaming on networks owned by its Spanish parent Telefonica.

Operators' volte-face on roaming was prompted by the threat of regulation from the European Commission. Information society and media commissioner Vivianne Reding announced she hoped to see roaming rates fall by up to 70 per cent.

While most operators are sanguine about regulation of wholesale roaming rates (what one operator charges another) they are resisting moves to govern retail rates, charged by operators to consumers.

3's spokesman said: "If you regulate wholesale rates, retail rates will always follow as companies compete amongst each other... By artificially maintaining high rates, [operators] could restrict the growth of the market itself."

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