TIM, Vodafone and Wind: trouble with the AGCM, what happened

TIM, Vodafone and Wind ended up under the magnifying glass of the Competition Authority: they are accused of poor information on maritime roaming

The Competition Authority of the Market (AGCM) against TIM, Wind Tre and Vodafone: the three phone companies would have implemented unfair procedures by activating, without user request, maritime roaming.

The maritime roaming is nothing else but the coverage of the operator's signal even when we are on the high seas, where the signal of the repeaters placed on land did not arrive. In this case the lack of terrestrial signal is compensated by the satellite one, thanks to the base stations installed on the ships. All this, for the user, has very high costs and, for this reason, shipping companies are required to inform passengers when leaving the area of terrestrial coverage and entering under satellite coverage.

AGCM against operators and shipping companies

In addition to the behavior of TIM, Wind and Vodafone, the AGCM is also verifying that of Grimandi Group, Grandi Navi Veloci and Compagnia italiana di navigazione, for failure to inform passengers when their ships enter the roaming area. The three telephone companies, on the other hand, are accused of aggressive commercial practices: they would have activated roaming even when not requested. The officials of the Authority, accompanied by the men of the Special Antitrust Unit of the Guardia di Finanza, have carried out inspections in the offices of the three telephone companies involved.

Sea roaming: how not to have your card drained

Sea roaming has very high costs, compared to the normal connection, comparable to those of the old international roaming (recently considerably reduced, thanks to the intervention of the European Union). Moreover, telephone operators offer very little information on the costs applied even on their Web pages. TIM, on its official website, declares a rate of 3 euros per minute for making calls, 1.5 euros per minute for receiving, and Internet at 2 cents per KB. Only SMS are free (in reception). When you enter the roaming area, at least in theory, we receive an SMS from our operator that warns us of the different pricing applied. It's clear, however, that the best thing is not to use the smartphone completely while we're surfing or we could have very nasty surprises. And, since we pay even if we receive calls, perhaps the best thing is to activate the airplane mode or turn off the device until the navigation company warns us that we have left the roaming zone.