Look how far we’ve got to go in this industry

I arrived into Miami this afternoon and got this message from my operator of choice, Vodafone:

Welcome to The USA. Calls cost 135ppm to make & 100ppm to receive. SMS 35p + your home rate & pic msg 37p. For your £5 per day you have 25MB of data, then it’s £3 per 1MB. Click for free price info or call +441635691700. Emergency 112

All fine. I’m certainly not happy with it. But I can live with it. Until Apple or somebody else fixes this ultra-annoying roaming price problem.

So I’ve been told I’ve got 25mb to play with, right?


I got this message a few hours later:

From Vodafone: To let you know it’s nearly midnight in the UK. If you do need to carry on using data after midnight, you’ll be charged a new daily rate of £3 per 1MB. To stop these alerts, text STOP to 40506 Sent MAY 13 @23:30 UK

So because Vodafone’s billing system can’t hack it, they’re shortly going to start nailing me for three-quid-a-meg.

This is ostensibly because the billing system works in British time.

That’s not my problem.

Well, actually, it is. They’ve made it my problem.

“If you do need to carry on using data,” reads the message.


What’s your stupid modus operandi, Vodafone? Are you telling me that I should be using my data abroad based on the British timezone?


Goodness me it’s rubbish, isn’t it?

I don’t see why I should be forced into some stupid timezone-based usage model when that’s absolutely not what “25mb per day” means as any man-on-the-street would understand it.

Per day? Surely that means per 24-hour period? Which for simplicity, we define as “Monday” or “Tuesday”. Calendar days. That’s fine. Insisting that this calendar day must be limited to Newbury-Time isn’t good enough. Not for a global organisation like Vodafone.

I look forward to the day when these billing practices are completely smashed.

In the meantime, you’re doing yourself absolutely no favours Vodafone (other operators are doing similar). You’re just guaranteeing I will be even faster at leaving you the moment somebody steps up and fixes this.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

6 replies on “Look how far we’ve got to go in this industry”

Ewan, I don’t get it. Why can’t you just start tomorrows data allowance of 25mb at £5 after midnight? Why the change to £3/mb ?

If your timezone change meant that you lost a few hours of a day, you’d be getting less than 24 hours for the ‘day’ you paid for, and vice-versa. Keeping it in the home timezone does at least mean you pay for consistent blocks of 24 hours (albeit unable to use some of it while on a plane!). I imagine if it swapped with the timezone it could get confusing for both the operator and the customer. Especially if you were hopping between multiple timezones.

Well exactly. It’s because that 25mb for £5 is tied to midnight in the UK. You’d think that the day would reset wouldn’t you?

I buy the concept that jumping between timezones could certainly make things rather complicated — so tying it all to the London timezone is fine. Why, then, do I have to pay ‘more’ if I keep using data after midnight?

Shouldn’t I just start another 25mb allowance?

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