Vodafone launches Euro GPRS roaming service

Vodafone Group PLC customers are now able to access GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) data services in 10 European countries, soon to rise to 12, the company announced Monday.

As of Monday, Vodafone customers in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland will be able to access Vodafone GPRS services when travelling in any of the other involved countries. Sweden will joining the roaming agreement on March 31 and the U.K. will join on April 2, Vodafone Group Communications Manager Janine Young said.

Previously, GPRS customers could receive phone calls when overseas but not data services.

The service available overseas will look and feel exactly the same as in the customer's home country, Vodafone said in a statement. Billing will be on a volume basis, as in the domestic market, but at a slightly higher rate, Young said. For example, U.K. customers who pay £5 (US$7.13) for 1M byte of data will pay approximately £8 when roaming, Young said.

Other countries will join the roaming service as they finish testing and adjusting their billing infrastructures, and all remaining European Vodafone operators and partner networks should be offering GPRS roaming by the end of the year, Young said.

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