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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Straying off the beaten track will cost you on your mobile

Published 06/07/2014 | 00:00

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Busy Line: It could cost as much as €28 to make a ten-minute phone call home when travelling outside the EU

Holidaymakers heading to Spain, France or anywhere else in the EU this summer will find it a lot cheaper to use their mobiles abroad. New rules kicked in at the start of this month which reduce the amount you can be charged for making a call on your mobile while travelling in the EU to 23c a minute. The amount you can be charged for receiving a call has fallen to 6c a minute and the cost of using your mobile to surf the internet has been halved.

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However, those heading to more far flung destinations won't benefit from the new rules. You could pay as much as €2.80 a minute to make a call on your mobile while travelling outside the EU - or more than €2 a minute to receive one. That can add up - a ten-minute phone call outside the EU for example could set you back €28.

Here are some of the most expensive places in the world to use your mobile while travelling abroad.

The ferry or cruise ship

Up to €15 to make a 
five-minute phone call

You will usually pay through the nose if you use your mobile while travelling on a cruise ship or ferry. Vodafone for example will charge you €2.99 a minute to make and receive calls at sea - and 70c to send a text. "These prices reflect the very high wholesale charges that we are charged by the operators offering these maritime services," said a spokeswoman for Vodafone.

Mauritius

Up to €14 to make a 
five-minute phone call home

Paradise island or not, don't get too carried away using your mobile in Mauritius. It will cost you €2.80 a minute to phone home from Mauritius if you're a customer of Three Ireland, and more than €2 a minute if you're with O2, Meteor or Vodafone. A five-minute phone call home therefore could cost as much as €14.

If your call is to a phone that is not in Ireland or Mauritius, O2 will charge you €3.04 a minute to make the call - or more than €15 for a five-minute phone call. It costs more than €2 a minute to receive calls on your mobile in Mauritius.

Venezuela

Up to €4 to send ten texts

You could pay almost six times as much to send a text in Venezuela as you will within the EU. It costs up to 7c to send a text message within the EU - but in Venezuela, you'll be charged between 30c and 40c. Amongst the most expensive for texts are O2, which charges 40c if you send a text message from Venezuela, and Three, which charges 36c.

Ringing home to boast about seeing the Angel Falls will set you back €2.80 a minute if you're a customer of Three. Vodafone and Meteor charge €2.02 a minute while O2 charges €1.77 a min. If your call is not to Ireland but is to another country outside Venezuela, 02 charges €2.78 a minute.

Afghanistan

Up to €11 to receive 
a five-minute call

The ongoing instability in Afghanistan mean this country is unlikely to be high up there as a holiday destination. Those who do venture here will also pay a fortune in text messages and call charges.

It usually costs more than €2 a minute to receive a call on your mobile in Afghanistan. Meteor customers for example pay €2.23 a minute to receive calls here. You'll typically pay between €2 and €2.80 a minute to make a call here, and between 30c and 40c to send a text.

Japan

Up to €15 to make 
a five-minute call

While it will cost about €2 a minute to call home from Japan, you could find yourself having to pay more than €3 a minute to call a phone in a country outside Japan or Ireland.

O2 charges €3.04 a minute for such calls.

You'll typically pay about €2 a minute to receive calls on your mobile in Japan.

Australia

Up to €11.65 to make a five-minute call home

It can cost between €1.78 and €2.33 a minute to call home from Australia - or to receive a call on your mobile, depending on your mobile phone operator. Australia is often covered in the 'roaming' packages offered by mobile phone operators - where the cost of making calls abroad works out considerably cheaper than normal rates.

So if your mobile phone company offers a roaming package which covers Australia, or any other country you're planning to visit, be sure to opt into that package. Vodafone's Red Roaming package for example allows you to make calls and texts from Australia - and to surf the internet on your mobile - for €4.99 a day.

Off the beaten track

Whatever about the cost, if you stray well off the beaten track when travelling, your mobile phone is unlikely to work. There are parts of the world where mobile phone operators have not yet struck roaming agreements. If this is the case, you won't be able to make a call on your phone unless you can buy a local SIM card in that country and your phone isn't locked to a particular network.

O2 for example has not yet established roaming agreements for Burkina Faso, Comoros, Djibouti, French Polynesia, Guinea-Bissau, Kyrgyzstan, Palau, Suriname and Vanuatu. "An O2 sim won't work unless a roaming agreement has been put in place," said a spokeswoman for O2.

Antartica and Swaziland are some of the countries which Vodafone does not have roaming agreements in place. While Vodafone has struck roaming agreements for bill-pay customers in Belarus, the Isle of Man, Mauritiana and Venezuela, it has not yet done so for pay-as-you-go customers.

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