The Inquirer-Home

High costs put people off pan-European roaming

94 percent of travellers baulk at the price of mobile roaming, says the EC
Mon Feb 17 2014, 12:30
Mobile roaming charges can be very expensive

EUROPEAN CITIZENS don't use their mobile phones and communications systems while on the move because they are worried about the cost.

In a survey the EC found that less than 10 percent of people use their phones abroad in the same way that they do at home. The European Commission (EC) said that this is missed opportunity for service providers, but it is also money saved for holiday and business travellers.

A quarter of people react to their arrival in a foreign country by turning off their mobile phone, and a third never make any phone calls.

Just under half, 47 percent will not use mobile communications and millions of people use SMS chats over phone calls as a way of saving money.

These numbers have surprised technocrat and European Commission VP Neelie Kroes, who has long been an advocate for ending mobile roaming changes, and she was shocked to hear that people are being separated from their Facebook pages.

"I am honestly shocked by these figures. It shows we have to finish the job and eliminate roaming charges. Consumers are limiting their phone use in extreme ways and this makes no sense for the companies either," said Kroes.

"It's not just a fight between holiday-makers and telecoms companies. Millions of businesses face extra costs because of roaming, and companies like app makers lose revenue too. Roaming makes no sense in a single market - it's economic madness."

Where people do roam some have incurred charges of whopping proportions. Last year a UK teenager went to New York and played with a Facebook account on another continent, and ran up almost £4,000 in charges.

Making roaming simpler has been a goal for over a decade, and the EC has made many attempts to sort it out. This latest survey finds that the most frequent travellers have the best understanding of charges and are the most likely to avoid using the services.

The EC said that since 2008 it has cut the costs of mobile calls and texts by 80 percent and roaming charges by over 90 percent. µ


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