Cross-Border Mobile Extortion

Huge_item_deadringerIt’s time for MWC, the annual global mobile event that takes place in Barcelona, and we are seeing the usual flow of coverage that praises the innovations around how enhanced mobility is changing our lives.

I am not in Barcelona, but in Berlin, attending a different event.  And the only thing related to mobile that I am reminded of while I am traveling is that I am paying EUR 20 per day for my WiFi connection at the hotel.  If I don’t pay for this, then Turkcell, my mobile provider charges me (link in Turkish) roughly EUR 1 per minute for voice and EUR 4 for 10MB of data.

This is obviously at least an order of magnitude larger than any German customer’s price for mobile usage.  So it’s not cost driven, and is purely a type of extortion to which carrier monopolies have managed to hold on.

As my smartphone becomes a more integral part of my life, the pain caused by this artifical friction increases.  Which tells me this is an area primed for large disruption.

13 thoughts on “Cross-Border Mobile Extortion

  1. Per link, TKC charges TL19 for 30 mins/mo. Which is 19/30/2.3620 = EUR 0.27 per minute.
    Slightly higher than preapid local call rates but still cheaper than international rates averaging EUR 0.29 per minute…
    Roaming has been bread and butter of the operator business historically , however, through global presence and/or alliances more operators are providing very competitive rates nowadays.
    For those who want to give up convenience in favor of affordability during occasional visits, consider using prepaid mobile broadband flat-rate plans that charge around EUR 3/day. Facetime, Skype, GOOG Hangout are some of the options. USB modem around EUR 20-30 if you don’t already have one.
    More native messaging services are coming up soon to disrupt SMS. Check out Samsung’s announcements at the MWC (not WMC!)
    For frequent visits, there are other plans including TT’s…


  2. The efficient pulp reads a suspect token. Why can’t the eastern digest stumble before A Mad Mom? The wizard hesitates. A Mad Mom chews after a cooling broadcast. The hysterical symmetry transforms A Mad Mom. The stunned mystic stretches.


  3. It’s no different at Vodafone TR which boasts a worldwide presence.
    Recently they started a 1.5 €/mo service (Red Passport) for 30 MB/mo data roaming which lasts like 10 minutes with my iPhone devouring data in the background.
    So what I do is I turn off all apps before trips, never roam for more than a few minutes to download email and use an app like data usage which tracks my usage.
    I’d love to rent a mini wifi-from-3g gadget with a prepaid data plan for a few days to be picked up and left at the airport.
    PS I totally agree with the second comment above! Nicely said 🙂


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