Vodafone Malta is eliminating roaming charges earlier than expected through its new RED plans, launched today.
The European Commission announced last year, that roaming charges would be abolished by June 2017. Vodafone Malta has thus jumped ahead of this. Vodafone Malta CEO Amanda Nelson explained that the exact terms of EU regulations are still not final, but would probably allow for some free roaming for customers and not full free roaming. It is not even clear how generous the regulations would be, she said.
Vodafone has introduced free European roaming as of today through it’s RED plans, as the company completely revamps its RED tariffs. The new plan also includes large data allowances on the company’s national 4G network and the same rates for out of bundle calls and SMS to all European numbers, no matter if the customer is in Malta or abroad in Europe, a spokesperson said.
The costs for the RED plans are slightly higher, by a few euros, than the existing plans, Amanda Nelson explained.
Customers on the new RED plans will have the same internet rates on their mobile phones above their allowances at home and Europe, a spokesperson explained.
The new roaming service has been designed for customers travelling to all EU countries, as well as Albania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, resulting in free incoming calls, free calls and texts to Malta for travelling purposes, as well as extra free mobile internet allowances when travelling that is added to the local data allowance.
Aside from roaming calls free from charges, the mobile operator has also dropped rates to European numbers with its new RED plans. So if a Maltese person calls a non-Maltese in the UK, the charge would be 25c, and an SMS would cost 5c.
The company’s local RELAX internet on mobile rates to the RED Roaming European footprint has been extended through the new plans. Thus, if customers run out of bundle while roaming, a rate of only €2 per 100MB will apply.
Vodafone Malta CEO Amanda Nelson said; “In the last couple of years we were the first to launch unlimited domestic tariffs with RED, we brought 4G first to Maltese customers, we launched crystal clear calls on HD voice in Malta and we slashed out of bundle data pricing by 80% with RELAX”.
When asked whether Vodafone Malta would take a financial hit from this, she was unable to reveal details, however did say that mobile operators do make certain profits off of roaming charges, and that this was not something the company could do for free. “We listened to our customers” she said.
As from March, another move by Vodafone will see roaming charges across 70 non-EU countries streamlined, where customers would be able to receive free incoming calls, 100 SMS and 100 mb of internet for €6 per day. The launch date is yet to be confirmed, however would be made default for all customers.