Vodafone to drop roaming charges over summer

From the beginning of June to the end of August, the operator will let its customers make calls at domestic rates while overseas

Vodafone is to temporarily drop its voice, SMS and picture message roaming charges across 35 countries over the summer, the operator announced on Thursday.

The company has an opt-in tariff called Passport, through which customers can make calls at domestic rates while abroad. Passport involves a 75p levy on each call made and received, and it is that charge that is being dropped for the three-month promotional period this year. The removal of a roaming surcharge for text and picture messaging is also a new addition for the promotion.

The promotion, which will run from 1 June to the end of August, is open to business customers who are on Vodafone's Anytime or Your Plan tariffs, as well as to consumers.

Ian Shepherd, Vodafone UK's consumer director, told ZDNet UK on Thursday that users would not have to be roaming on a Vodafone-owned network to take advantage of the offer.

"If you have bundles of minutes and texts in the UK, you can use those overseas," Shepherd said. "You are not limited to being on a Vodafone network in the other country."

As to why data-roaming charges were not also being dropped over the promotional period, Shepherd said data was "a very different thing", and pointed out that Vodafone already offers a day's browsing in most European countries at a £5 flat rate.

At the end of the three-month promotional period, customers will be notified that they can switch back to Vodafone's normal roaming rates, Shepherd said — otherwise, those users will stay signed up to Passport.

The places in which roaming charges are being dropped for the three-month promotion are: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Channel Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroes, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Vatican City, New Zealand and Australia.