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Roaming, how to control one’s budget ?

Living at a time when smartphones are quickly growing and the services of our telephone operators become more and more competitive, one issue is still prominent: the roaming.

How can you manage your budget for roaming charges ?

At a time when Smartphones are advancing at an amazing rate and the services provided by our phone companies are becoming more and more sophisticated, one problem remains: roaming charges.

Indeed in Europe roaming is being spoken about a great deal. Even though it will be abolished next year, it will still be an issue for 2017. But how does it work? How will it change? How can you manage roaming charges when abroad and avoid nasty surprises?

To answer these questions, Mr Camara, Tango Marketing Director, agreed to give us an interview.

Mr Camara, could you explain what is roaming and why we pay roaming fees?

Roaming fees are the additional costs you pay when you use a foreign network. For example, when someone with a Luxembourgish phone contract makes calls or sends text messages from France there will be additional charges. These are “roaming “ fees. These fees are justified because when, for example, a Tango customer makes calls in France, the French provider will charge Tango. Our client is then billed for this. Currently roaming is common practice everywhere in the world. But things are about to change….

Indeed a lot of articles are talking about the abolition of roaming fees in a number of countries. What is the situation in Luxembourg? What changes can we expect?

Like other European Union members, Luxembourg is subject to the European Commission’s regularization which also includes the rules concerning roaming. Since 2007 successive regulations have lead to a reduction of about 80% of the cost of phone calls, text messages and data when roaming. Furthermore the price per MB has dropped by 91% in 10 years. The European regulation from last April has enabled a further reduction in these prices. It is now only possible to charge 5 cents more per minute and 2 cents more per text message in comparison to a local call or text message, which is minimal and much more affordable than ten years ago. As from next year the European Commission will introduce the abolition of this small fee imposed on customers, and will officially abolish roaming fees. The dates and way in which this will be done are yet to be defined. That does not mean that call will be free of charge, but that there will be no surcharge and fees will correspond with national charges.

This latest ruling has lead to the development of new services, which anticipate this last step. This is the case for Tango as we currently offer contracts where roaming is automatically included.

What advice would you give to Consumers to avoid nasty surprises due to potential (large) roaming fees?

It is easy to manage roaming fees with regards to calls and texts; the only risk at the moment is when using the Internet abroad. That’s where you mainly have to pay attention. When we send texts or make calls it is easy to be aware of how much we are spending. However, when we use Facebook, YouTube or play Pokemon Go for example, it is much more difficult to judge how much that will cost.

To avoid any nasty shocks we advise our clients to download the app MY Tango, which allows you to see your daily consumption. Secondly, we offer a “roaming data control” via the App My Tango or our client service can fix a maximum roaming fee in the contract. These together allow you to manage and limit your roaming fees and not go above your budget.

Are there simulators, which allow us to calculate contract costs?

Of course! On our website you can find a free calculator which enables you to get an estimation of your roaming fees for classic contracts, but also and more importantly get a recommendation of which contract type is most suited to your needs. For example for someone who does not make a lot of calls our simulator would recommend a price per minute as previously explained the surcharge is minimal whereas someone who makes a lot of calls would get recommendations for other options in order to reduce the roaming costs.

While we are waiting for roaming fees to be abolished are there attractive contracts for cross border workers or people who travel abroad frequently ?

Yes of course! For example for those people who often go over the border and need to be able to stay in contact with their friends and family abroad, or cross border workers, there is Tango Smart L and Tango Smart XL, which already include roaming and international calls. These contracts are interesting as for only 25 euros a month, the consumer has unlimited calls and texts to and from Europe as well as 5 to 20GB data per month nationally and 5 to 20 GB per year in roaming according to the contract. It is very advantageous!

There are also options for people with a national contract. When you go on holiday or on a business trip and you think that you will use your phone a lot for data, we have a daily option called “Vodafone voyager” which, for 3.50 euros a day offers 500mb of Internet. So for a very affordable daily fee the person can benefit on a day-to-day basis from Internet access abroad as well as calls and texts.

Of course every client is invited to use our online simulator to find out which contract is best suited to their needs or pop by one of our shops to get advice from one of our team.

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