Vodafone is making it cheaper for international business travellers to roam on its 3G data networks, a move that demonstrates that operators are currently charging too much, according to analyst Gartner.
This week, Vodafone announced its Monthly Travel Tariff for business users of 3G networks. For 75 euros (£52), Vodafone’s European subscribers can send or receive up to 100Mb of data while roaming on its 3G networks in Europe, Australia, Japan and New Zealand.
Roaming transfers beyond the 100Mb limit are charged at a standard roaming rate. Vodafone also announced that it will extend its flat-rate tariff for domestic 3G data calls to more of its European networks.
Gartner said, “This is a sign that mobile operators are starting to recognize they charge too much for roaming data services.
“Current charges for data calls, especially while roaming, are much too high. Operators are starting to realise that high charges, coupled with unpredictable bills, are limiting use of data services.”
The analyst said the new roaming tariff, and greater availability of the flat-rate domestic tariff, will allow companies to predict data charges for travelling employees.
Gartner said Vodafone had so far only sold 300,000 3G data cards since launching the 3G data network in January 2004. The analyst said the operator hoped to boost this figure with the reduced roaming charges.
Gartner said Vodafone customers who regularly send or receive more than 10Mb of data per month while roaming should opt for the Monthly Travel Tariff as soon as possible.
European travellers on other networks should investigate Vodafone’s new 3G data tariff if their current mobile service provider cannot match it, said Gartner.
And business travellers tied into a contract should use Vodafone's Monthly Travel Tariff as a benchmark and renegotiate for lower prices, the analyst group suggested.