I’ve just got back from a long weekend in Geneva. Lovely place, beautiful lake, painful exchange rate. Switzerland was always quite expensive, but with the Swiss Franc a safe haven for investors, hanging out in Geneva suddenly looks like a small fortune.
But leave aside the cost of normal stuff like food and hotels for a second. We were staying with friends for part of the trip who live very near the border with France, so I got text messages alerting me to what mobile services would cost from my telco (T-Mobile) in either country.
[easychart type=”vertbar” height=”200″ width=”350″ title=”Mobile prices, price(£)” axis=”both” groupnames=”France, Switzerland” valuenames=”Make call, Receive call, Text, Data per mb, Picture msg” group1values=”0.366, 0.115, 0.115, 0.333, 0.2″ group2values=”1,1,0.4,7.5,0.2″]
And what a difference half a kilometer makes – over in France, it was 36p per call, and 11p to receive a call, compared to £1 in Switzerland. A text in Switzerland was 40p to 11p in France. Weirdly, picture messages were the same on both (20p).
But it was data where the greatest difference lay. In France, I was offered £1 per 3mb. In Switzerland, it was £7.50 for 1mb – over 22 times more expensive.
Now I know that EU regulations are bringing down the cost of call and data roaming in Europe, which Switzerland is free to ignore. And this is a sample of one, rather than a proper survey. But data should never, ever cost 22 times more just by walking 500m across a border.