Vodafone 4G customers will be able to roam on LTE networks in 40 countries in time for Christmas.
The operator has offered 4G roaming since February this year and has added Antigua & Barbuda, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka and Thailand to the 23 existing countries already, with Fiji and Kuwait expected to be included in time for 25 December.
Contract customers can use their UK allowances for £3 a day in Europe and £5 a day elsewhere, with no charge applied for receiving calls or texts, something which Vodafone claims will protect customers against bill shock.
However Vodafone came in for strong criticism recently for insisting a teacher who had their phone stolen in Barcelona must pay a £15,000 bill racked up by thieves dialling premium rate numbers – despite the man claiming he reported the incident to the operator immediately.
A member of customer service apparently said the phone would be cancelled, but this did not happen until a few days later. A lawyer took up his case for free and Vodafone eventually waived the charges following a “review” of the case.
The Citizens Advice Bureau says a third of all cases of stolen phones reported to it happen in Spain, the majority of which are in Barcelona. The organisation estimates that 160,000 people are impacted by bill shock resulting from the loss or theft of a mobile phone each year, costing around £4 million. It has called for a £50 cap to be installed by the government without delay.
EE also offers 4G roaming in a number of countries, while Three lets customers use their UK call, text and data allowances in selected territories without additional charge. However European roaming could be a thing of the past with the EU planning to abolish all additional charges by December 2015.
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