A couple of days ago I mentioned that Vodafone had introduced a new automatic data roaming package in Europe – a daily charge of £2 for 25Mb of data. It's a good deal, particularly when my current service provider, O2, would charge £75 for this amount of data at the standard rate of £3 a megabyte. What's more, Vodafone's standard rate is only £1 a MB.
As a result I had a fairly predictable conversation with O2 who confirmed that the rate of £3 per MB cannot be varied. I know some competitors charge even more than than, but even £3 is prohibitive and as a consequence I always leave data roaming switched off.
So it's bye bye O2 and I asked for a PAC code to transfer my number to Vodafone. Data is more important to me than telephone calls, which I seldom make when abroad unless I'm on wifi and can use Skype. So I wasn't worried that O2 throw in a cheaper international call bundle for customers paying more than £20 a month while Vodafone charge an extra £5.
My new contract is a monthly affair with no long-term commitment and I pay £20 for 300 anytime minutes, unlimited texts, 1GB of data and 1GB of wifi. If I commit to a 12-month contract I get 600 minutes instead of 300 but I'm not sure I would use them. There is one big difference, though. O2 permit VOIP calling over their 3G network whereas I believe Vodafone don't. This is something I will check.
A big bonus, though, is that iPhone tethering is included in my £20 a month 1GB plan and this would certainly be adequate for occasional laptop use. I do have a separate Vodafone data plan, which costs £15 for 3GB of data, but it's good to know that the tethering is available in emergency.