Why I'm leaving my iPhone at home this holiday

Cathy Adams's picture

 For some, holidays mean leaving the computer and the mobile phone at home. For me, holidays simply mean more time to obsessively check emails and update social networking sites without getting dodgy looks from my boss.

Laying my hands on an iPhone late last year marked the peak of my digital addiction. I can tweet, email and download as many useless apps as I want, any time of day – and it’s all within my ‘unlimited’ data allowance.

Unfortunately, this ‘unlimited’ allowance doesn’t stretch to outside the UK. Earlier this summer huge scare stories appeared in the media saying how naïve users had racked up hundreds of pounds in data roaming charges, simply by checking their emails or downloading a file.

Unlimited data allowances are only valid within the UK, and as soon as you step foot outside our shores it costs. A lot.

I’m off to the south of France this weekend, and pondered taking my beloved iPhone with me. The Orange website lists the charges as £3 to download a megabyte of data within the EU – which is paltry, compared to charges of £8 per MB outside of the EU. 

But how much is an MB? Simply checking my emails and downloading an image would total one MB. The problem comes from the lack of transparency – how much is one MB and what exactly we can do with it is seldom explained. 

The problem that befell some iPhone users this summer was that they weren’t sure how to turn off the data roaming option on their handset, and so without even realising, they were running up huge bills just by switching their phone on. The only free way to access the net while abroad is to leapfrog onto free local WI-FI networks. 

Call charges, on the other hand, are no longer so steep. From the 1 July, EU legislation reduced the tariff of making a call to €0.39 and €0.15 for calls received. It now costs no more than 11p within Europe to send a text, and mercifully there is a cap on data roaming charges, set at a monthly cost of €50. 

I’m only away for the weekend, but I’ve switched to an old Samsung. While I’m smart enough to switch off the data roaming and not check my emails every day, there’s always that temptation to do so after one too many sangrias. I’d rather avoid it altogether and make like it’s 2002 with a mobile phone that simply does what it says on the tin.


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