Five days in Berlin over Christmas provided the first opportunity for an extended trial of Vodaphone UK’s European data roaming package. For a flat daily fee of £2¹ you get 25MB of data. Is it enough for emails, a few VOIP calls and a minimum of web browsing? If you go over the allowance, every extra megabyte costs £1, so unfettered roaming can be a costly business.
Before switching on data roaming it is a good thing to take some precautions to prevent background downloads which can cost a fortune. The first thing I did was turn off push email and set mail to manual. It is also wise to turn off Load Remote Images. There is then no danger of a single attachment blowing your entire daily allowance. During my time in Germany I left notifications switched on because I did not think this would make a significant difference.
Essentially, it is wise to think before attempting to download anything if you want to keep cost to a minimum. Certainly you would not wish to download app updates, and you should steer well away from YouTube and any streaming of videos or podcasts. Usually you can find a wifi hotspot where you can have a data feast before moving back to cellular only.
After my five days the iPhone was showing 101MB, an average of 20MB a day which is comfortably within Vodafone’s package.
With care and a few precautions, the Vodafone roaming service is worthwhile and offers much better value for money than some other providers. O2, for instance, charge £3 per MB, so the data used in Berlin would have cost £303 compared with the £10 I paid Vodafone. Frankly, this roaming package is the main reason I stay with Vodafone and it is something worth thinking about when signing up for a contract.
¹ Outside the European area the same package is available but costs £6 a day.