The Minister Of State For Vodafone

Turkeys voting for Christmas is as surprising as a mobile phone operator arguing for a reduction in charges but that’s what 3, the mobile operator, did earlier this week in the House of Lords.

“We don’t believe these charges can be justified,” Julie Minns, head of public policy for 3, told the House of Lords EU sub-committee about roaming charges for data.

The irony is that the EU wants lower roaming charges. European parliament has capped data roaming charges across the EU at 50 eurocents per megabyte, down from 80 cents.


The European parliament has also made it as legal requirement for all to allow customers to switch operator depending on where they are.


These provisions have been a long time coming. Various EC committees have pushed for them only to be stymied by the UK representative – the Minister of State for Vodafone – who invariably puts up some weaselly-worded non-justification for keeping charges high and then votes against any action being taken.


It’s always been the UK politicos, carrying out the orders of their operator masters, who are keeping roaming charges high.


Unfortunately this point was not taken up by their Lordships this week.


Instead they got the weaselly-worded non-justification from Robyn Durie, director of regulatory affairs at Everything Everywhere, the operator of the T-Mobile/Orange networks in the UK.


 “Mobile data is relatively new, and prices have come down quite dramatically. I don’t think the charges are particularly high,” said Durie.


Well everyone else does.

Durie argued that the cost of providing mobile data is higher than the cost of providing fixed line data because of the expense involved in building masts, paying for spectrum, and transmitting the data through the internet “back to the country”.


Asked why T-Mobile and Orange charged different prices for data roaming, Durie replied that the two brands “were directed at slightly different markets”.


Ofcom is currently considering global price caps for data roaming.


At long last, this nonsense may be stopped.



  1. In my experience, mikejames, roaming data shock happens because always-on devices suck the stuff even when you don’t want it, compounded by the fact that no one has a clue how much they’re using under the per-KB/MB tariff system. I think a sensible approach would be for data roaming charges to be capped at a fixed amount per day.

  2. A long time in 1985 ago I can remember my employer paying 3p per kilobyte on Telecom Gold plus dialup charges.
    And now I can download about 80 megabytes on my 60GB/month capped ADSL for 3p.
    But if I roam in Europe the 3p now lets me have as much as 10 kilobytes of data. . Is that a good deal?
    I think when I was in Indonesia last year, the 3p would have bought me about a megabyte of data, if I had an Indonesian phone.
    O2 would let me have 5 kilobytes of data for 3p in Indonesia on the same network. Reasonable ?

  3. Yes Mike, hopefully the hoo-ha about Barclay’s tax will make companies more responsible about paying more of their tax whack and the HMRC less pathetic about cutting them cosy deals. After all Vodafone can’t pick up their masts and trot off abroad.

  4. Maybe Vodafone is too cosy with all sorts of Government departments?
    They’ve also got their nice deal with HMRC on corporate tax, so it looks as if their lobbying is really working..

  5. I think you’re right, Mr C.

  6. Me thinks “Politics Sucks”

  7. Yes indeed, Scunnerous, in highly regulated industries the political-industrial interface is a murky one.

  8. I imagine the Minister of State for Vodafone, through their part ownership of Verizon, is familiar with practices across the pond and figures: ‘if we can screw them there, why not here?’

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