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Enraged by roaming rip-off? Don't worry, you're not the only one

Ever had a nasty shock in your bill when you got home from a romantic weekend away with your smart phone? You're not the only one -- and ZDNet UK is doing something about it.

If you've ever gone on holiday -- whether on purpose or by mistake -- and used your smart phone, you might well have had a nasty shock in your phone bill when you got home. If so, you're not the only one. Charging a king's ransom for data when you're abroad seems to be standard practice, despite ongoing efforts by the European Union.

Our sister site ZDNet UK has had enough of exorbitant roaming charges -- it's mad as hell and it isn't going to take it any more. It's mobilising its fiercely nerdy readership to petition the phone networks to change their policies and we thought you might have something to say about it too.

The real costs to networks of data are something in the region of 1-3p per megabyte, but they're passing that on to you for as much as £10 per megabyte. In a survey of hundreds of readers, ZDNet UK found 80 per cent had been on the wrong end of a roaming bill they thought was excessive, and 76 per cent thought roaming charges in general were "much too high".

As for the networks, they're spectacularly unrepentant about charging top dollar. "I don't see where the driver is to bring [prices] down currently because there's no global regulator," said T-Mobile's David Gannon.

They're betting that people will expect to use all the features of their phone as normal and not look too closely at the fine print. As David Meyer writes in this useful guide to bundled and per-megabyte charges, you need to pre-register for a bolt-on, which is much cheaper, but still a very expensive way to surf the Web. Either that or remember to disable roaming on your phone completely when you get on the plane, and buy a local SIM when you get to your destination.

ZDNet UK has set up this petition, and created this handy video guide too. Have a watch, and have your say.