Meteor and Three Won’t “Roam Like Home” in the EU but I’m ok with that

As reported in the Independent, it seems that Meteor and Three have found a loophole in EU legislation to get rid of mobile roaming charges. Of the Irish telecoms companies, only Vodafone “is publicly saying that it will let customers use every bit of data abroad that they’re entitled to at home”.

Concerned, I contacted @Meteor_Mobile on Twitter and received a response within minutes. If you have a Meteor bill pay plan you’ll get “up to 5GB of roaming data”. Pay as you go customers must still buy a roaming add-on. The new limits will be introduced early in the summer so the roaming page will be updated then I expect.

It’s disappointing for PAYG customers, but as a PAYG customer I’m willing to stay with Meteor because their monthly cost is relatively low. I rarely make phone calls or send SMS texts and I make heavy use of their 7.5GB data offer for €10 a month. It wouldn’t be worth my while upgrading to a bill pay plan. I’d need to spend €20/month €25/month to get that amount of data or more and the call minutes and texts would go to waste. 1GB of roaming data is €14.99 for PAYG customers, or I have the option of buying a sim locally for even better value.

Moving to Vodafone isn’t really an option either. The closest offer is still twice as expensive, as I wouldn’t use the €10 credit left in the account each month.

If I was travelling around the EU every month I’d certainly upgrade to a bill pay plan but the monthly cost of a PAYG data plan is a no-brainer. It’s better value for my usage.

Edit: a few hours after I posted this the European Commission warned Irish mobile operators that there wasn’t any loophole.
I couldn’t find any mention of PAYG customers specifically but this BT PDF makes no distinction between bill pay and PAYG customers. (One wonders what will happen there when BREXIT happens.)

This means BT One Phone customer’s will begin to see their UK allowance(s) decremented when they are Roaming inside the EU. If a customer has used up all their UK allowance they will begin to be charged their normal UK PAYG/Out of bundle or Overage rate while roaming inside the European Union.

Go Mobile with Supercache

I’ll be honest, I don’t have much experience with mobile content. I’ve rarely browsed the net on a mobile device. I don’t have an iPhone and don’t intend buying one but lots of people do use mobile devices to browse online.

With that in mind, and after some pestering by Vladimir I modified WP Super Cache so it will support mobile devices and operate in full super caching mode!

The plugin now filters out requests from the most common mobile user agents and serves those requests in “half on” WP-Cache mode while serving the rest of your visitors static html files. As I’ve said many times before, the speed differences between both modes is negligible for normal traffic but it’s a nice safety net in case your site is inundated.

Only thing is, I want people to test it first before making a final release. Grab the development version from the download page and give it a whirl.
Your mod_rewrite rules in the .htaccess file have to be updated but if you delete the “WPSuperCache” rules they can be regenerated by the plugin next time you load the admin page.
There are also a number of other bugfixes and enhancements too so check out the Changelog.txt for more details.

I use WordPress Mobile Edition here and last Sunday I noticed an extra 10,000 requests from Google using odd looking “mobile useragents” like this one:

SAMSUNG-SGH-E250/1.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 UP.Browser/6.2.3.3.c.1.101 (GUI) MMP/2.0 (compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)

The actual mobile device changed but the Google bit stayed the same and all requests came from 66.249.71.2
Eventually I figured out that Google was adding my site to the “mobile” section of their index. Presumably to be served from here. Cool, another way of getting to my site.

PS. the development version also has a small modification to make it go faster by not checking file modification time on each request. This could help on really busy servers.