A study that was conducted by the European Commission suggests that the excessive charges incurred for data roaming results in European visitors turning their phones off when travelling abroad.
The study which was made up of 28,000 respondents from countries across the European Union (EU) shows that 47% of respondents don’t use mobile internet when abroad. More than a quarter of respondents claimed that they turn their phone off to ensure any data roaming charges are not incurred.
Neelie Kroes who is the European Commission Vice-President has claimed that she is stunned by the results and that they have to finish the job of eliminating data roaming charges as it isn’t beneficial for both consumer and company.
Kroes stated, “It shows we have to finish the job and eliminate roaming charges. It’s not just a fight between holiday-makers and telecoms companies. Consumers are limiting their phone use in extreme ways, and this makes no sense for the companies, either.”
Kroes added, “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.”
Matthew Howett who is a telecoms analyst believes that the results of the study aren’t that surprising as data roaming charges can result in a hugely inflated bill when using your phone abroad.
Howett stated, “I don’t think the findings are that surprising. Customers can come back to nasty bill shocks when they use their phone abroad.”
In the past year, the European Commission have started a campaign to end data roaming charges altogether which they are hopeful of achieving by 2016. If they are to be successful, their final proposal must be accepted by all 28 EU members and passed by European lawmakers.
Their first step of achieving this is to get charges for receiving incoming calls abolished. The European Commission believe that they are on course with achieving this goal and it is believed that it could come into effect as soon as July this year.
Naturally many of the network providers are disgruntled by this news. Matthew Howett believes that this is because the proposals have been made whilst they are in the process of investing a huge amount of money in infrastructure upgrades.
Howett stated, “They are having to make some fairly significant investments in 4G networks across Europe. By giving [the networks] this quite lethal kick at this time it is quite painful for them, as they’re trying to invest.”
Do you use your mobile when travelling abroad? Do you think that data roaming charges should be abolished?