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Vodafone Hits Customer with £11k Mobile Broadband Bill
By: MarkJ - 03 March, 2008 (8:48 AM)

Vodafone has issued one of its customers with a data bill for £11,000 after the users wife downloaded four episodes of the TV sitcom Friends through his mobile phone while abroad. The download was conducted using one of Vodafone's Mobile Broadband data bundles and would have been free had they been conducted in the UK.

It's understood that the download itself began in the UK and resumed after the customer flew to Germany, where roaming data fees are considerably higher. The Telegraph reports:

The pair, who have not been named, discovered the unwelcome bill after the executive arrived back in the UK and Vodafone called his firm to alert him. Ed Richards, the chief executive of industry regulator Ofcom, said it would investigate the huge fee.

Viviane Reding, the European Union commissioner for information, society and media, has [ALREADY] given phone companies until July 1 to cut their fees for downloading data and texting while abroad.

She said: "Sending a text message or downloading data in another country should not be substantially more expensive than at home. Higher retail charges abroad must be justified or they will have to disappear."

Sadly Vodafone is not unaccustomed to excessive customer billing and readers may recall the case of Ian Simpson during December last year. Ian, a 29 year old factory worker from Darlington (Yorkshire), ran up a data usage bill of £27,322 after using his mobile as a laptop modem to download several TV programmes (original news).

Itís clear that mobile data services, at least from Vodafone, still have a long way to go before the price, performance and fairness balance can become truly competitive with land line products.


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