Telecom News

M-Budget Lowers Data Roaming Fees

July 18, 2018 - Ralf Beyeler

M-Budget – the Swisscom-powered mobile service from Migros – is lowering its prices for data roaming. Telecom expert Ralf Beyeler from online comparison service moneyland.ch analyzed the new fees.

As of July 18, 2018, M-Budget is implementing new pricing for data roaming. A 100-megabyte data roaming bundle for Europe now costs 5.90 Swiss francs (previously 7.50 francs) and a 500-megabyte bundle now costs 14.90 francs (previously 22.50 francs). The corresponding price decreases are 21 percent and 34 percent respectively.

Data roaming bundles for other countries are also becoming cheaper. The 100-megabyte bundle for the World 1 region (which includes the United States and South Africa, among others) now costs 8.90 francs (previously 12.50 francs). The 500-megabyte bundle now costs 24.90 francs (previously 37.50 francs). That equates price decreases of 29 percent and 34 percent respectively.

A 100-megabyte data roaming bundle for the World 2 region (which includes Vietnam, among others) costs 18.90 francs (previously 27.50 francs) – a price decrease of 31 percent. The 100-megabyte bundle for the Rest Of The World region (which includes Burkina Faso, among others) is now 60 centimes cheaper at 68.90 francs (previously 69.50 francs).

Verdict by moneyland.ch telecom expert Ralf Beyeler

moneyland.ch recently reported on the substantially higher roaming fees charged by the mobile service sub-brands powered by Swisscom, Sunrise and Salt. According to our analysis, M-Budget mobile plan users paid 91 percent more for roaming in countries included in the analysis than Swisscom mobile plan holders even though Swisscom is the contractor in both cases.

The M-Budget price cuts have lowered this “roaming penalty” borne by M-Budget users, but a notable markup still exists. According to the moneyland.ch analysis, M-Budget mobile plan holders matching the generic user profile employed in the analysis pay between 12 percent and 51 percent more than Swisscom plan users for roaming in Spain, the United States, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam.

A comparison with offers from its competitors shows that even after these massive price reductions, M-Budget’s pricing remains uncompetitive. 1000 megabytes of data roaming in Europe costs 20 francs or less at many service providers – including Swisscom, Sunrise, Salt, CoopMobile, Wingo, Yallo and Lebara. M-Budget is around 50 percent more expensive than most service providers – at 29.80 francs.

It is also surprising that M-Budget has only lowered its rates halfway through the summer vacation season. Many holidaymakers have already returned from their vacations, which means many travelers could not benefit from the price reductions. Other service providers use a more customer-friendly approach: It is customary to lower roaming rates before peak travel seasons.

One remaining point of frustration is the fact that data bundles continue to expire after 30 days. It is unfortunate that Swisscom and Migros did not take advantage of the opportunity presented by the update to make their bundles more customer friendly.

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Expert Ralf Beyeler
Ralf Beyeler is the telecom expert at moneyland.ch and also covers other areas of personal finance.