Roam if you want to

After much procrastination I’ve finally got round to filing various bills, and I’ve discovered that in a period of ten days I managed to run up a mobile phone bill of £260 – despite being a very occasional mobile user. The culprit is international roaming, because I had to make a few calls when I was on holiday and then again when I was in the US to cover a product launch. One reasonably short call to my wife cost a rather alarming £20.

The rates (I’m on Orange) can make your bills very scary if you don’t use your phone sparingly when abroad: if you’re in Spain, calls cost 70p per minute, it’s 30p/min to receive calls and it’s 30p per SMS message. In the US it’s even more: £1.10 per minute for outgoing calls, 65p/min for incoming calls and 35p per SMS text. And billing is per minute, not per second, so a 1 minute 1 second call is charged as a 2 minute call. Thankfully I didn’t use my phone for data access, which I suspect would have cost a million pounds per minute.

By comparison, Spanish cybercafes charge 2 Euros for an hour’s net access. Next time I travel abroad, I’m sticking to email.