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Roaming: 37% of Brits switch off their mobiles abroad, study shows
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Published on 17-02-14

A study released today by the European Commission shows that 37% of Brits turn off their phone, 36% turn off data roaming, and only 7% use special data roaming plans while travelling to another EU country. The data shows a widespread tendency for users across Europe to limit their phone usage while abroad due to the additional cost of roaming.


    Roaming: 37% of Brits switch off their mobiles abroad, study shows

    More than a quarter of Europeans (28%) simply switch off their mobiles when they travel in the EU. About half (47%) never use internet when in another country. Only one in 10 will use emails the same way as at home while millions restrict themselves to text messages rather than voice calls.

    This means that telecoms companies are missing out on a potential market of around 300 million phone users because of current pricing strategies. Frequent travellers – the most lucrative section of the potential market - are more likely to switch-off their mobile phone data roaming capabilities than the occasional travellers. These barriers to suing a mobile abroad also hamper businesses such as app makers with travel guides, photo and map apps particularly affected.

    European Commission Vice President for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes said: “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.”

    "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.”

    This study comes in the wake of other statistics that show a 1 500% increase in data roaming across the EU since 2008 when EU regulations introduced gradually decreasing prices. These EU rules have slashed retails prices for voice calls and text messages by 80% since 2008 while data roaming is now 91% cheaper.

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