Tuesday, January 16, 2007

3 scraps roaming fees - Viv must be ecstatic

'3' announced today that they're scrapping roaming fees in the 8 countries where they operate 3G networks - Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Hong Kong, Australia, UK and Ireland. Called '3 Like Home' there are no one-off fees, no connection fees, no incoming call termination fees, nothing. Voice minutes and messages come out of your bundle. And presumably, if you're on X-Series, then your data usage is free.

What a great development - I applaude the guys at '3' for really taking the lead. They took the wrecking ball to the walled garden with X-Series and now they're doing the same with roaming fees. Vivien Reding of the European Commission must be very happy indeed.

I have long ranted about how the mobile industry suppresses the mobile internet and finds any outside (3rd party) innovation incredibly suspicious and even dangerous. Even '3' was like this for the longest time - they were one of the strongest advocates of the walled garden and a restricted mobile experience.

No other operator has moved in response to X-Series.
And now '3' has upped the ante again.

Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2 all cut their roaming fees last summer presumably to delay any meddling by the EC. I guess at the time they were even seen as being 'leaders' - certainly relatively speaking since roaming fees were so extortionate to begin with. But now '3' has one-upped them on roaming as well as data.

I can't wait to see what's going to happen next.