$21,852 Bill For Downloading Friends Points To Excessive Roaming Data Costs

If ever there were proof Europe’s roaming data charges need to come down, see this Times story about the £11,000 ($21,852) cost of downloading four episodes of Friends. Hard as it is to believe, supposedly the wife of a British executive had used his laptop to begin downloading the episodes using Channel 4’s 4oD TV catch-up app, before her husband left for a two-day business trip in Germany. During the trip, the app continued to download over his Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) mobile broadband link at cross-border roaming rates, leading to a hefty bill for his company.

Vodafone UK said it alerts customers who exceed their data quota whilst at home but this proved more difficult because the customer was overseas. It’s the most stark example of data charges since Wired editor Chris Anderson’s iPhone racked up a $2,100 bill over 10 days just for checking email. The European Commission has given carriers until July 1 to cut roaming data costs.