Over 25pc of Europeans switch off mobile abroad to save costs, says report

18 Feb 2014

Fearing having to face an eye-watering bill when they return from a European break, a study conducted with EU citizens shows that many of us drastically cut back on smartphone usage, or turn off their mobiles altogether.

The report published by the European Commission (EC) points out that European mobile networks are missing out on a market of 300 million customers because their roaming charges are too severe.

Comprising 28,000 EU citizens, the findings show that for day-to-day smartphone activities like checking Twitter, browsing and Facebook, the vast majority (94pc) stop using it entirely when travelling abroad.

Even what can be considered more important internet usage like accessing emails is less used with only one-in-ten saying they would access email the same amount as they would at home.

For over 25pc of those surveyed, just turning off their phone entirely when abroad was seen as the only option to avoid roaming charges.

Decrease in cost since 2008

However, interestingly regulations introduced by the EU with regard to fixed roaming charges over all European telecom companies has seen a huge increase in people using roaming since the legislation was introduced in 2008 to the tune of an incredible 1500pc increase.

Speaking about the results, EC vice president 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.”

The fact that people are still worried to use roaming on their smartphone despite the 2008 regulations bringing roaming data costs down by 91pc shows that consumers still the costs are prohibitively expensive.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic