MONEY-EATING MODEM

Ever wondered how the world’s telephone companies are making heaps of money these days and still manage to file complaints over government intervention in their phony businesses? Th e European Union, which has led the way in stamping out the indecent profits from unjustifiable high roaming charges, last month proudly reported that cellphone bills in […]


Ever wondered how the world’s telephone companies are making heaps of money these days and still manage to file complaints over government intervention in their phony businesses?

Th e European Union, which has led the way in stamping out the indecent profits from unjustifiable high roaming charges, last month proudly reported that cellphone bills in Europe have been cut by as much as 60 percent following the introduction of a cap on roaming charges. Th e poor mobile operators are now wailing that the price caps have hit their margins and have threatened that the prices of other services could go up. In plain language the latter is called blackmail, but that aside.

The Vodafone Group, the world’s largest cellphone operator said earlier this year that the company would lose US$400 million to $500 million in 2007 because of these darned caps.

Quite frankly and on a personal note, we haven’t seen any reduction in our roaming bills during a recent stay in Europe. On the contrary.

A Smartone-Vodafone mobile broadband modem, which allowed us to use our laptop without a fixed line, turned out to be a money-eating monster, charging NINE US dollars per 19 seconds to stay connected. With an average of 70 incoming messages a day, we had trouble topping up the account fast enough to keep the internet connection going. Not surpringly we have returned the money-eating Vodafone device, despite the European price caps, the phone companies will find loopholes in the well-meant EU laws and continue to charge their scandalous roaming rates.