T-Mobile cuts data roaming fees by 80 percent

From 1 July, the operator will cut its charges to £1.50 per megabyte for those using a phone or data modem to surf the internet while travelling in Europe

T-Mobile has announced a cut of 80 percent in its European data-roaming charges, in time for the 1 July deadline imposed on operators by the European Commission.

Information society and media commissioner Viviane Reding told operators in February that they would have to make their data-roaming rates more reasonable by the start of July, otherwise the Commission would consider proposing strict new regulations on such charges. On Friday, T-Mobile said its data-roaming charges within Europe would, as of 1 July, drop from £7.50 per megabyte to £1.50 per megabyte.

The move will make T-Mobile the cheapest UK operator in terms of using a mobile phone or data modem for internet surfing while abroad on the continent. The operator also said on Friday that it would be cutting its rates for text messaging while in Europe — another bugbear for Reding — from 40 pence per message to 25 pence per message, bringing T-Mobile in line with its rival O2. Leaving opt-in bundles aside, O2 and 3 will, until 1 July, be the cheapest UK operators for data roaming, as they already charge just £3 per megabyte.

ZDNet.co.uk has contacted all the other UK operators to see whether they also now intend to cut their data-roaming rates, but none had given confirmation of such a move at the time of writing.

It is not clear whether T-Mobile's rate cut will satisfy Reding, although she has always been clear that she would prefer voluntary reductions to further regulation. ZDNet.co.uk has contacted her office to seek comment on T-Mobile's move, but has not yet received a reply.