Vodafone have confirmed that they have ended roaming charges in 40 countries worldwide, after first revealing the plans last year. The Vodafone Global Roaming Plan allows customers traveling to certain countries to use their smartphone plan as they would at home, with no extra costs. These destinations are mostly in Europe and include many popular holiday destinations, where consumers tend to use more data. There are also a further 60 countries where Vodafone customers can use their smartphones to call, text, and browse on their plan for £5 per day. These countries include the US, Hong Kong and Russia. Initially, the new pricing plan will only include customers who are on an upgraded or new contract. Anyone who is currently in the middle of their contract would have to upgrade to take advantage of this offer. Standard roaming rates will still apply to any customer traveling outside of these areas. Vodafone have also confirmed that they will not "throttle" internet speeds, and customers will be able to access 4G where it's available in these destinations.
The Three network already offers similar terms to UK customers on their advanced plans. The plan, called Feel At Home, is available in over 40 countries including some that are not covered by Vodafone's new plan. Mark Newman, an analyst at ConnectivityX stated to the BBC that he believed that roaming charges have "absolutely hurt" mobile giants such as Vodafone and that the plans were a "pre-emptive strike before the new EU regulations kick in." It's widely believed that mobile companies will in the future try to recoup some of their lost profits by increasing price plans.
At the same time, Vodafone also revealed a new program called Flexible Upgrade, as well as a range of new tariffs. The Flexible Upgrade program allows customers to upgrade to a new handset every 6 months by trading in their current handset and using the money to pay off any outstanding money that's owed on it. It's expected that many mobile companies will soon announce an end to their roaming charges due to the European Parliament's vote to formally end EU roaming charges on June 15th.