Vodafone has announced a new voice roaming service that it claims will make call pricing cheaper and more transparent for customers when using their mobile phone in other countries.
Called the Vodafone Travel Promise, it aims to make roaming easier to understand and allow customers to keep track of what they are spending on calls while they are on holidays or out of the country on business.
The first part of the service is the Vodafone Passport. When travelling in markets where there is a Vodafone subsidiary or affiliate operating, Vodafone Passport customers will be charged a once-off connection fee set by the in-country Vodafone operator but will then be able to call home at domestic call rates.
When receiving calls abroad, customers will pay the same connection fee, allowing them to talk for no additional charge. The duration of received calls will vary from market to market, from 20 minutes to one hour.
Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden all go live with the new service on 1 June. Albania, Australia, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, Portugal and the UK are due to follow suit at various stages over the coming months.
No launch date has been set for the Irish market but it is likely to be in a number of weeks, a Vodafone spokesperson said. Pricing details for the Irish market are not being revealed until the launch, according to the spokesperson, who added that Irish customers “can expect good savings” through using the plan.
In a statement announcing the new roaming arrangements, Vodafone gave the example of an Italian prepay customer making a 10 minute call back to Italy whilst travelling in France. Under the current price plan they would be charged €10 but this would be €2.15 for Vodafone Passport customers.
Once-off connection fees will also vary from country to country but Vodafone has issued Vat-exclusive guide prices of €0.64-€1 per call within Europe and €0.64 – €1.99 to countries outside Europe. The mobile operator will publicise the new roaming plan with a Europe-wide advertising campaign.
By Gordon Smith