Monday, June 13, 2011

Affordable Data Roaming In Europe With

As I mentioned it in a previous post, you probably know by now that whenever I travel abroad, I use local prepaid sim cards as not only the cost of data roaming with my main mobile carrier (Orange France) is outrageous but adding a data roaming option is just a nightmare.

The advent of the Internet and even more so the mobile Internet have changed the way we interact with the world and in particular the way we travel. I can't fathom being in a foreign country without having access to Google Maps on my iPhone. In fact, it is probably the situation where Google Maps is most useful. So, why aren't our mobile carriers allowing us to use our smart-phones this way when traveling abroad?

In my opinion, data roaming plans are nothing more than a joke. With Orange France, I have the option to activate a 7-day plan for €35 with 50Mb of data in Europe or 34Mb in the rest of the world. I'm sorry but 50 Mb is a joke nowadays. And Orange France makes it even harder to use this data roaming plan as you can't activate it in advance and when you do activate it, it can take between 1 mn to 48 hours to start working. And of course, you can't subscribe to such a plan for 2 weeks in a row: you have to renew it after the first 7 days have expired (and sometimes end up without a data roaming plan for 48 hours between two 7-day periods).

Of course, Orange France will tell you that roaming abroad costs them so much money that they have no other option than to charge such premiums to their loyal contract customers. So, can anyone explain how a small virtual mobile carrier such as is able to offer the same roaming plan for €4.99 to their prepaid customers? Yes, you're not dreaming: 7 times cheaper for prepaid customers compared to the price charged by Orange France to customers on a 2-year contract.

Combined with offering for voice roaming in Europe: 50 minutes for 7 days priced at  €4.99, you get something like €40 per month for 200 voice minutes and 200 Mb of data for roaming all over Europe. Compare this to the €45 my wife pays on a monthly contract with Orange France for 120 voice minutes in France only and 1Gb of data in France only (plus unlimited text messages though), and you can almost reach the conclusion that it is cheaper to use a German mobile carrier in roaming mode in France than a French carrier. Isn't this completely insane?

I sincerely hope that data roaming prices will drop in the near future, granting us Europeans what I would call a true "Freedom of Information Technologies."

Many thanks to Google Translate for allowing me to access website in English!


China-Stock said...

Very useful information. The only problem is that the website is in German. So it is difficult for users like me to find out whether it is what I need. Currently, I am using Mobile Vikings, which is a Belgium MVNO. I post a review about it.

fr8d said...

Thank you for your comment. I don't speak German so I use Google Chrome automatic translation feature which is good enough for me to use website.

John said...

Low cost data roaming in Europe and many other countries with
Lowest prepaid roaming rates in the world. 200Mb bundle €55 (27,5ct/MB)valid 30 days.

Carlo said...

I'm a customer and I was looking to get an Orange prepaid card for a Paris trip! You just saved me a *lot* of trouble.

fr8d said...

Thank you for your comment!

OlivierR said...

And for the ones traveling TO france, they can rent a wifi hotspot at
Cheap: from 6 cents a MB!