Smartphones: The next generation
Smartphones are a new generation of phones that are more like little computers.
They can run software applications -- 'apps' -- that can do all kinds of cool stuff from tuning your guitar to navigating a ship through the Suez Canal.
Smartphone owners spend more time surfing the net and downloading than they would with a standard phone.
Data usage limits are critical when picking a phone tariff -- or you will end up seriously out of pocket -- like one user who racked up a €400 bill for using their phone as a satnav on holidays.
Vodafone and O2 offer a 2GB per month data allowance on bill pay, while Meteor gives you 1-5GB depending on your plan. Pre-pay tariffs are 99c for a daily 50MB allowance with most operators.
A music track takes up 1.3MB while a website is just 25KB, so these limits should be enough for most people, Consumer Choice magazine advises.
However, it warns that "there have been a number of well-publicised cases of users being saddled with shockingly high bills caused by unknowingly exceeding limits."
One German woman got hit with a €46,000 bill for downloading one episode of her favourite TV programme while on holiday in France!
EU rules on roaming charges only included data usage since July last year when the fee was capped at €1 (ex VAT) per megabyte. The latest rule requires operators to cut a customer's mobile connection when their data roaming bill reaches €50 in a single month.