Orange has introduced a new roaming option for customers travelling in Europe, called the EU Daily Mobile Internet Browsing Bundle, which offers 30MB of data at a cost of £3. The launch falls in line with the coming into force of European Commission legislation designed to limit the excessive cost of roaming charges, and is likely to be welcomed by those previously paying many times this rate for similar amounts of data while abroad.
As the name suggests, this allowance is only extended for a day - or more specifically 24 hours from the previous midnight to the next. If the 30MB bundle is used up, data is charged at £3.07 per megabyte - a steep increase. However, Orange says that 99.5 per cent of its customers' needs will be served by the provision of 30MB of data - it may not be enough to stream YouTube videos, but for sending emails and checking Facebook a few times it should be sufficient.
The cost is high compared to data use in the UK, but not too disparate from other networks. T-Mobile, for instance, charges £1 for 3MB to use in a day, £5 for 20MB to use over a week, or £10 for 50MB to use over a month, so the relative value will be determined by customer data use, not outright comparison. Vodafone offers 25MB of daily roaming data for £2 but more interestingly includes that allowance in tariffs of £40 or greater, and will bolt it on to a cheaper one for £10 a month.
Regardless of the gradual introduction of cheaper, more generous roaming data plans, mobile internet use while abroad remains an expensive option. While the EC is looking to impose more limits, for now it looks like these bundles are the best we're going to see.