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Date: 25/05/2011

Globetrotters set to benefit from cheaper data costs

Anyone who has spent time touring the world on their backpacker travel insurance, or has even just wanted to access the internet on a standard single trip travel insurance break, will know how costly it can be to use the internet service available on most mobile phone tariffs.

Therefore, the launching of a brand new service which could slash costs by as much as 80% has caused quite a stir among frequent travellers

A free application, Onavo, says that it is able to compress data down to a fraction of the size, meaning it can be downloaded to mobiles at a much cheaper rate. Most tariffs charge according to the size of the files downloaded with just one gigabyte of data downloaded by a Brit using the Orange network in the US, costing a whopping £8,192. Although many providers have safeguards in place to prevent extortionate bills, it is still possible to run up a considerable sum of money or else face searching around to find internet cafes or free WiFi access.

Onava says any files are squeezed to the minimum possible size on its own servers before being transmitted to the mobile network, meaning costs can be reduced by as much as 80%. For those who travel regularly or spend extended amounts of time abroad, such as those on their backpacker travel insurance, such an innovation could prove to be a godsend.

With an increasing number of holidaymakers wanting to use the internet while abroad but not willing to add in the roaming costs of mobile data on top of their single trip travel insurance and other extras, especially when consumer watchdog Which? estimates that they can be as much as 1,000 times more expensive than back home, the app could soon have a substantial fan-base.