Author: Dan Gendro

Mobile roaming fees may spike for U.K. travelers after Brexit

The industry cautioned that phone charge trade deal negotiations will be rather tricky.

When Brexit occurs, mobile roaming fees could skyrocket by an astounding amount for British travelers. In fact, the industry has cautioned that Brits that every song they stream could cost them €50 in roaming charges when the U.K. splits from the E.U.

This will occur unless the U.K. manages to negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement following Brexit.

The E.U. has been campaigning against the existence of mobile roaming fees for more than ten years. They have lowered the amount mobile operators are permitted to charge. Moreover, they are leading to a nearly entire removal of mobile roaming charges by the summer of 2017. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron continually underscored this type of potential fee throughout the Brexit referendum campaigns.

When Brexit occurs, British travelers will no longer be covered by the protection from mobile roaming fees.

Mobile Roaming Fees - Smartphone UserThis will make it possible for European carriers to charge British travelers whatever they want for using phone, text and data services. At the moment, American travelers who don’t arrange for special data packages find themselves paying €10 per MB. This could soon be the case for people from the U.K., as well.

While this had previously been problematic before the limits to E.U. mobile roaming charges had been put into place, it is expected to be far greater after Brexit. The reason is that the last time carriers were allowed to charge whatever they wanted to British travelers, it was primarily for talk and text.

Now, people are using their smartphones for far more than that on a very regular basis. Keeping in mind that a single Spotify song is usually between 3MB and 5MB, non-EU mobile device users could pay exorbitant fees for mobile web use.

Mobile roaming fees aren’t the only costs that might change for British travelers to Europe. U.K. carriers may find that they will be charged higher line rental and other network fees by E.U. providers. This extra expense will need to be passed on to the customer, too. To avoid this, negotiations between the U.K. and the E.U. will need to be quick and careful.

Google Assistant now features Santa tracking

The Android mobile app and service is letting kids of all ages check on what Old Saint Nick is up to.

Christmas is creeping up fast and as Santa and his elves make last minute preparations, Google Assistant is allowing kids to check up on jolly old Saint Nick. The popular Santa Tracker has been worked into the artificial intelligence-powered digital personal assistant app. Kids of all ages can now say “Track Santa” or ask “Where is Santa” and find out the latest about Father Christmas.

At the moment, the Assistant is providing text answers to the question, though full maps are available.

For instance, when using the mobile app or desktop site instead of Google Assistant, a full map response is provided to the inquiry about Santa’s location. That said, the Assistant has a few additional lighthearted options, such as a number of different Santa-themed jokes.

Google Assistant - Santa TrackingThe majority of the responses currently shared about Santa’s location have to do with the last minute preparations he is making with his elves. For instance, one reply from the Santa Tracker indicates that he just finished checking the weather reports for Christmas Eve.

The Google Assistant app is available for mobile devices based on the Android operating system.

Typically, the Assistant helps mobile device users to be able to conduct internet searches, to look through their pictures or complete a range of other basic tasks. However, for the holiday season, Google’s Santa tracking system has been integrated into the Assistant to allow users to find out when he might be flying near to their location.

That said, the holiday features aren’t just exclusive to people who celebrate Christmas during the holiday season. Google has also worked in a cute option meant for Jewish kids who are getting ready to celebrate Hanukkah, too. For instance, if you ask the Assistant to “spin the dreidel,” it provides a digital simulation of the spinning four-sided top. This can allow kids to play regardless of whether they happen to have an actual dreidel handy.

For mobile device users who have gadgets based on an operating system other than Android, the features Android users are enjoying with Google Assistant are still available. Google’s full Santa-tracking website is available for all smartphones, tablets and laptop/desktop users to be able to keep up with the very latest with the Jolly Old Elf.