Remember the days not so long ago when just about the most costly thing you could do was go abroad and forget to 1. inform your mobile phone service provider or 2. leave roaming on when you switch your phone on again at the airport?
Last week I went to Prague, a beautiful city no doubt but one that is hardly at the cutting edge of technology. Yet every cafe, bar, hotel and airport had free WIFI and proudly advertised it indeed the first information that my party asked of the waiting staff was the wifi code. The sight of tourists checking their Facebook Twitter and other accounts was commonplace. This was the Czech Republic one of the newer members of the EU yet the infrastructure was there for two of our party just to exist on the free offering of the ex-iron curtain country.
What also surprized me was the reasonable cost of roaming on the UK networks abroad – I paid just 3GBP a day and nothing if I didn’t use it. I reality I could have managed without it as the free coverage was widespread.
In July of this year the deals get even better for travelers as the full ruling on roaming and calls comes into effect.
Other noteworthy ‘mobile friendly’ measures were also in place like charging points and encouraging use of phones to photograph venues and share the content across rating sites with even incentives to post reviews and check-in at bars and restaurants. In many ways our European cousins have now left us way behind in this area and we can learn a valuable marketing lesson – at Vaclav Havel Airport Prague – we had free WIFI for as long as we wanted – free flight alerts to our phones and free charging points built in to our seats. At Gatwick Airport – 45 minutes of free WIFI then payable by the hour – nowhere to charge phones worse than that mobile coverage was patchy.