EU survey: Operators missing out on 300M roaming users

Some 94 per cent of Europeans who travel outside their home country limit their use of services like Facebook because of mobile roaming charges, according to a new survey of 28,000 EU citizens carried out by the European Commission (EC). The Commission calculates that operators are missing out on a market of around 300 million phone users because of current pricing strategies, with negative effects for other businesses such as app makers. The survey found that 47 per cent of users would never use mobile internet in another EU country; only one out of 10 would use emails in the same way as at home; more than a quarter of us simply switch off our mobiles when we travel in the EU; millions divert to SMS rather than pay for calls. "I am honestly shocked by these figures," said EC Vice President Neelie Kroes. "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."

Kroes has previously welcomed moves made by operators to limit roaming charges: "We're really pleased with the operator moves; it's what we've wanted all along and a sign that they know this change is coming," Kroes' spokesman Ryan Heath recently told FierceWirelessEurope. "Obviously we want complete abolition of roaming, but the French moves [by Orange France, Bouygues Telecom and Free Mobile to introduce new roaming plans] are putting them absolutely at the top of the class." Release