According to Reuters the European union is going to put price caps on text messages and data usage for users that roam in the area. This should be welcome news to travelers that try to keep in touch when overseas.I've roamed in various countries and several continents in the past ten years and it can be anyone's guess as to what your charges will be when roaming. Even if you know the rate, which is usually expressed in pennies per kilobyte, who keeps track of their data usage that way? I know there are apps for all of the platforms that will do that for you, but the truth is, if you have business to accomplish, you aren't going to do the math to figure out how much that 48kb spreadsheet will cost to download.
Text messages can also be ridiculous. I've been charged as much as $.25 for an incoming message. When traveling, I have to consider turning off weather alerts, twitter updates from family members and other routine text messages that i get daily.
I am not saying the companies shouldn't make a profit on travelers or cover their costs. They should. There are all kinds of overhead costs associated with setting up roaming agreements between carriers and tracking roaming phones on the network.
Those costs should be reasonable though. No one should be charged $100 for two days of activity, even if they downloaded the latest service pack to Windows Vista via their cell phone data connection.
The law is supposed to go into effect this summer. A law like this isn't likely in North America though. We'll likely just be forced to endure these costs. The carriers have a bit of a monopoly in this area.