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Beginning next month, will Roam-further (what is now known as World Traveller) become a mandatory product or will customers be able to still opt out of it and pay standard rates if required?
The reason I ask is my parents travel and it drove me nuts last year when they were in the UAE (which was at the time a World Traveller destination) as they'd incur the £5 per day charge for sending a text and no matter how many conversations I'd have with them around "you may as well use your phone all day as if you were here in the UK as you're charged on the first activity of the day", they didn't.
So looking at their bills, I'd see a £5 charge for a text or for a 30 second call.
The Roam-further is brilliant for people like me who will get their monies worth but is there an option for other customers to pay the standard prices rather than the flat daily charge?
Alas, apparently it's a mandatory part of Pay Monthly contracts. I did enquire about this, as it could obviously be expensive for the occasional/light user. For World Traveller there is an opt-out procedure, and I asked why this was not specified for Roam Further - but it was not specified because it wouldn't exist.
To go off at a slight tangent, I'm not entirely clear why I, as a light user on PAYG, should be so delighted by the changes to European Roaming that will come in next month. It will increase the cost of calling home from 4p per minute to 30p per minute, and the cost of using data from 4p per MB to £2 for 50MB then 10p per MB. Unless I buy a Big Value Bundle when I travel, I reckon the cost of using my phone within Europe will rise from max 50p per day to min £3 per day. Clearly excellent news
I kinda expected this to be the answer. Vodafone (and the other networks) need to find a way to increase revenue now they've lost the revenue from European roaming. I can kinda see why forcing all pay monthly users onto the Roam-further makes sense. There'll be people like my parents who will be paying £5 per day for a couple of calls or texts.
As for PAYG, I'm guessing there won't be that many people out there who don't buy a bundle as 30p per minute for a call is pretty expensive in my eyes, whether at home or overseas. I do expect the standard / out of bundle charges to increase further as this is another way to increase revenue.
I still think overall, for the majority of users, both pre and post-paid, the changes will be a benefit
It would be better if there were an option to opt of of this service, but it's perfectly possible to avoid any charges by turning off mobile data and not making any calls or sending any texts. I know this won't suit everyone and people will forget or not know how to do it, but we all have to be responsbile for your own phones eventually.
There are plenty of apps that will allows messages and voice/video calls over Wi Fi if you need to contact someone and don't want to pay the daily charge.
A £5 daily charge on days when one uses the network in a roam-further destination is small beer in relation to the over-all costs of a long-haul trip, though still a bit galling if all you have got out of it is one SMS or a 30-second call.
Something I've noticed recently is that a couple of hotel chains have added a "no VOIP" exclusion to their wifi Ts&Cs - I do skip-read through them, just to make sure I'm not agreeing to donate a kidney I've no idea whether their system enforces it, or whether one is one one's honour not to cheat, but I've been within Europe, and small amounts of roaming usage have been so cheap in the last couple of years that I haven't considered testing it out.
I presume that the chains are trying to recoup the investment they have made in in-room telephony, which must be severely under-used in these days of near-universal smart devices.
Hi there, is it also mandatory for exisitng customers/contracts?
It's just been applied to my account today, while I'm actually in Japan for work for a couple of weeks. I visit a lot for work (oftern for 2-4 weeks at a time), and while I'm there typically send a couple of texts a day to check up on home etc but switch data off and make no calls. If this is mandatory service, I'm going to be hit with £150 a month while in Japan to send a text or two home compared to the current £35p a message. Even assuming 5 texts a day (it's rarely if ever even that many), it's £1.75 a day so £52.50 for a 30 day trip.
If mandatory I'd consider it grounds to request Vodafone release me from my contract without charge (given I'm in my 11th week in Japan in the last 12 months it would have cost me a fortune). Is there an official line on it being mandatory?
@ruswilks Well, I've not seen or heard anything about it not being applicable to existing contracts. But the change from World Traveller to Vodafone Global Roaming isn't one that they are obliged to make, as is the case with roaming within the EU.
I'd think that the part of the PayM Ts&Cs on page 2, about wanting to leave because of changes, might apply. But it refers to Vodafone letting you know in advance that it affects you adversely - have you had any such notification?
If it's just a limited number of texts or a single call per day, and no other likely usage, an option I have wondered about in a general sort of way is using a PAYG SIM in another phone - the PAYG cost is 49p per text. You'd have to get the SIM set up before going abroad, and make sure there aren't any roaming bars in place, so there would be a bit of messing about. But it might be less than messing about trying to get out of a contract that otherwise suits you?
Despite Live Chat telling me repeatedly it will not apply to my account. Twitter help team and now telling me it is mandatory and there's no opt out. I only got the text today saying it is now applied, so I guess I will find out when I check my online account if the £5 charge is added (today I sent one whole text message, which shows how much worse off I am!! And I only sent that as Live Chat said it wouldn't apply and any charge I received would be refunded)
The PAYG option isn't convenient when in and out of Japan semi-regularly (I'd effectively need to have two phones and numbers running), and even then, 49p per text is still a cost up from the existing 35p per text roaming charge in place until now.
Any thoughts how to proceed? Live Help told me it wouldn't even be applied to my account and were confused why I was asking, and Twitter help are just advising it's mandatory for all customers and I have to pay the £5 charge each day, and that they are feeding back "to make it clearer that Roam-Further can't be opted out of" (which obviously doesn't hlp me at all unless they let me out of my contract for that reason).
Until Vodafone has worked out which songsheet they are supposed to be singing from, can you avoid the £5 charge for at least some days by using Skype or WhatsApp or a similar app for some of your texts? I assume you have wifi access for some of the time?
@ruswilks - I’m sorry to hear the different information you’re getting.
I’d advise to turn off you data roaming (in your settings menu), on the days you don’t want to incur the £5 daily charge.
There isn’t a charge to receive calls or texts, so this won’t trigger the £5.
I understand some days you may only want to send a few texts. If possible as @Annie_N as suggested, you could use Wi-Fi to send the text via WhatsApp - email or another internet app.
Thanks for your reply.
Regarding the mixed/misleading information, Since arrival in Japan on Monday I've had (in roughly chronological order): an automated text on arrival to Japan saying Roam Furher would be added to my account soon but roaming charges currently still apply, two seperate confirmations from Live Chat operators it won't be applied as I have an old account and that even if it is applied I can contact them to remove it, an automatic text saying Roam Further is now active, Twitter help confirmation that it's mandatory (and a discussion about the unclear T&Cs around it), another automated text saying it will be applied soon but roaming charges still apply, a follow up text from a Live Chat operator confirming again it is not applied to my account (he promised to follow up 48 hours after our online chat) and now a further confirmation from you that it is mandatory for all customers.
I'm sure you agree that level of conflicting information about 1) whether it's even yet active on my account, and 2) if it is mandatory with no opt out for me as an existing customer, is getting quite ridiculous.
I already make use of free wifi in Japan for most of my communications, hence data roaming always being switched off and not needing to make call. However there are situations and people that mean text messages are the only way for some of my regular communication. As I say normally it's just a couple of texts a day typically, so the oncost hasn't previously been too great.
The fact the final answer does appear to be that it's mandatory, without any possibility for an opt out even for existing customers, means I'll be leaving Vodafone when my contract is up at the end of the year.
After careful thought, I have decided to withdraw my suggestion above of using a PAYG SIM to avoid the £5 daily charge for using a phone in Roam-further destinations.
The Global Roaming Ts&Cs state "Note: from 11 June 2017, all existing customers will benefit from Roam-further automatically." The advance notifications I received about the 11 June changes didn't suggest that this would apply to me (I'm a PAYG customer), but if this is the case, then avoiding the benefit of the £5 charge, although still possible, would be somewhat more complicated than I had indicated, and realistically not likely to be worth the trouble of having a separate phone.
I understand your frustration with this as you're receiving conflicting text messages.
Roam further is now mandatory and is something that's applied to all Global Roaming plans.
We'll pass on your feedback in regards to this.
@ruswilks informs us that his contract will be up at the end of the year. This would imply that Vodafone Global Roaming was not part of the deal that he signed up for; indeed I believe it would have been World Traveller which would have applied to roaming in Japan, and would have been an optional service.
Compelling him, during the course of his contract, to switch to Vodafone Global Roaming, which carries with it mandatory Roam-further when in the relevant 60 countries, strikes me as a remarkably shabby trick.
Thanks @Annie_N, this is the point I have been trying to make. My existing contract has run since November 2015, didn't include World Traveller/Global Roaming/Roam Further as part of the bundle and I never applied it as an option, but now I am being told it is now mandatory for all customers regardless of new/existing contract and even though it's clearly going to have a knock on effect to the size of my bill (as I've described above previously).
Honestly, I think it's reasonable to be requested to be released from my contract early due to this, and once back in the UK will be contacting Vodafone again to request it (had I known at the time I got the first notification about Roam Further that there was no opt out, I would have been straight on to Vodafone at the time, but as I've already pointed out to the Twitter help team, it wasn't clear that an opt out wouldn't be available - even the April 2017 T&C's at the time I got the notification say Roam Further only applies to new customers and doesn't state it's mandatory for existing contracts).