SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Mobile data costs to be capped

Posted by Admin on November 30, 2008

That was the news from the EU on Friday. The details are that there will be a price cap of 11 euro cents (9p) on texts sent while roaming and a cap of 1 euro per megabyte (83p) on the price of downloading data.

As the French minister for industry and consumer affairs, Luc Chatel, said: “We want to avoid so-called bill shock, when someone gets back from a holiday and gets a nasty surprise.”

Although some people in the industry are complaining, I think that it is only a positive move for both consumers and the industry. Obviously this will reduce the chances of getting home and seeing a mobile bill that is greater than the cost of the rest of the holiday, but perhaps more importantly it reduces the fear of bill-shock.

The reason most people don’t use data services (on holiday or not) is that they don’t know the cost and so they assume that it is expensive. Within most contracts the costs are complicated to work out and so the fear is, ‘if I press this button will I be charged a fortune.’ So to avoid that, they just don’t use them. It is not the cost itself, but the fear that the cost will be huge.

To my mind, it is not that the costs have to come down (although I welcome it if they do), but that have to be more transparent so that I (and everyone else) can easily work out the cost of doing something beyond just talking and sending text messages on the phone.

Now the EU has made this announcement – it is expected to be ratified and come into force in July 2009 – it is up to the operators to do the same for non-roaming charges and make them simple and easy to understand for users.

You can read more from the BBC here.

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