There’s been quite a lot of debate around roaming charges over the summer and the Channel Islands telecom operators’ responses to the UK lifting roaming costs entirely when travelling in Europe.
Of course CICRA has a view which we publicly expressed this summer. Our view was that Channel Island consumers shouldn’t be in a position where they feel they have to switch off key features of their phones, or even turn them off entirely, to avoid high roaming charges. If those concerns were not addressed it seemed inevitable that Channel Island consumers would continue to find other solutions such as using UK operators’ services.
We encouraged those consumers who were considering such alternatives to take careful heed of any restrictions that may apply - although some of the media chose not to really focus on this message. The operators’ reactions to the data roaming issue (reducing charges and adding bolt-ons and boosters) has, in our view, been positive and shows what can be done (albeit with some nudging).
In their defence, there are a lot of challenges for Channel Islands operators to negotiate with European teleco companies not least the lack of volume/traffic (given the population of both islands); this may diminish their negotiating power and we have some sympathy for their position.
So credit where credit is due. The Channel Islands operators took action. They listened to the views aired and have devised different ways to respond to the challenges faced with roaming.
Consumers still need to be savvy and choose their data roaming packages wisely as there is still a risk of large bills given how data intensive some services can be. What’s good however is that consumers are in a far better position now than last year in terms of mobile data roaming charges and CICRA would strongly encourage them to consider the deals that are on offer.