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Mobile phone users still worry about costs when travelling abroad
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An overwhelming number of Britons are still worried about the cost of using their mobile phone when travelling in the EU.  According to a survey released by the European Commission today, 75 per cent of British travellers (EU: 72 per cent) still limit their roaming calls because of high charges even if a majority are aware that prices have fallen since 2006.  And only 17 per cent of Britons (EU: 19 per cent) who use internet-related services on their mobile phones when abroad think the costs of data-roaming, ie internet surfing or checking e-mails, are fair.

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda said: "Telecom companies must listen to their customers. Consumers feel there is still much room for improvement, particularly for data roaming. As I promised in the Digital Agenda for Europe, I intend to ensure better roaming solutions for European citizens and businesses."

The results of the survey, plus the public consultation on the future of the Roaming Regulation (IP/10/1679), which closed on 11 February, will feed into the Commission's review of current EU roaming rules due by June 2011.
The performance target set by the Digital Agenda for Europe (IP/10/581) is that the difference between roaming and national tariffs should approach zero by 2015.

    Mobile phone users still worry about costs when travelling abroad

    More roaming
    More EU citizens are using their mobiles whilst travelling in the EU than four years ago, when the EU first introduced roaming rules. Despite an estimated 13 per cent fall in travel between 2006 and 2010, the overall volume of calls received and SMS sent while abroad in the EU has grown during that period. Travellers report making 32 per cent more calls, receiving 31 per cent more calls and texting 43 per cent more since 2006.

    Habits vary
    The survey also shows different habits across the European population.
    - men are more likely to make voice calls while women prefer to send text messages;
    - 88% of Cypriots mostly use voice services but only 44% of British travellers;
    - 81% of Irish mobile users roaming in the EU favour text messages whilst only 24% of Portuguese do;
    - 32% of Bulgarians do not use their mobile phones abroad at all;
    - young people are now significantly more likely to use roaming services compared to 2006 figures (making voice calls: +43%; receiving calls: +42% and sending text messages: +51%).
    - 30% of retired people and 15% of 25-39 year olds do not use their mobile phones abroad at all.

    The special Eurobarometer survey on roaming questioned over 26,500 people in August and September 2010 in the 27 EU Member States. The primary sample analysed being those EU citizens who have a mobile phone and have travelled within the last 5 years in the EU.

    Caps on roaming prices were first introduced in 2007 (IP/07/870), ensuring that mobile phone users pay similar roaming tariffs across the EU. In July 2009, revised rules were adopted that cut roaming prices further so that by July 2011 the maximum roaming charges would, as default, be 35 cents per minute (30 pence) for calls made and 11 cents (9 pence) for calls received while abroad (see IP/09/1064 and MEMO/09/309).

    From 1 July 2010 travellers' data-roaming limit was automatically set at 50 euro (GBP: 43) excluding VAT (unless they had chosen another limit - higher or lower) and operators had to send users a warning when they reached 80 per cent of their data-roaming bill limit (IP/10/843). The 2009 roaming rules will apply until the end of June 2012.

    For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.
    Please note: all amounts expressed in sterling are for information purposes only

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    Last update: 17/02/2011  |Top