As a frequent traveler to Europe I never cease to be amazed to find that Europeans travel a lot through Europe. This really shouldn’t be a surprise, as it is as easy to go from Paris to Frankfurt, as it is to go from New York to Chicago. There is the extra step of clearing customs, but that’s become less of a hassle in the past decade as well with the European Union. And considering that security at airports makes sense, they don’t bother with the whole taking off the shoes most of the time (but don’t get me started on that one) – even with a heightened sense of security it is easy to travel through Europe. There are also the rails that make going from London to Paris quicker than watching a movie version of A Tale of Two Cities.
My point is that Europeans travel within Europe. According to figures from the GSM Association, about 42 percent of Europeans travel outside their home country and for a long time roaming was a major issue. This is where the travel wasn’t so painless. While Americans have had reasonable nationwide coverage for more than a decade now, Europeans crossing the border suddenly could find their mobile rates going up.
This added confusion for travelers like me, who suddenly found that rates varied greatly from country to country. This has begun to change with the introduction of Pan European regulation that is now making mobile roaming a bit more transparent. According to a new study from Research and Markets, a global research firm, titled “Global Mobile Roaming Pricing 2010,” mobile roaming is in a transformation stage as a result of regulatory intervention. The result could also mean that roaming for European travelers to the United States could fall as well. Of course, the real impact that we’re watching for is whether international roaming for Americans in the Old World will also be a bit more reasonable.
For the meantime however, we expect Wi-Fi and VOIP to remain alternatives, as roaming rates will probably still stay “lofty,” meaning that you won’t want to make lengthy calls as you take in the sights!
SFO Gets Free Wi-Fi Service
Getting delayed at the San Francisco International Airport is a common occurrence for many travelers. Due to fog, parallel runways and a host of other problems, delays are something to expect while traveling through SFO.
But now you’ll be able to use that time on the ground to check e-mail and even surf the Web, and for free – at least if you have a Wi-Fi-enabled device. Coming soon the airport will begin to offer free wireless Web access, and that’s good news for travelers who have had to fork out nearly $8 a day to log into the T-Mobile service currently provided. Unfortunately, this is only a pilot program that is serving a test to see if free Wi-Fi works.
The airport hopes to offset costs of the free service through sponsors and advertisers. But here is hoping that this service does indeed take off!