uSwitch reminds UK mobile users that EU roaming is not yet free

Mobile roaming fees across the European Union (EU) will be much cheaper from Apr. 30 when the European Commission introduces new caps, but it appears that some users are labouring under the misapprehension that roaming will actually be free from that date.

uSwitch, an online and telephone comparison and switching service, has warned UK users to keep a close eye on the new charges after research suggested that over a quarter (27 per cent) incorrectly believe it does not cost extra to use a mobile in other EU countries.

Although the new caps will restrict mobile providers to charging a maximum of the domestic price plus €0.05 ($0.06) per minute for a call, €0.02 to send a text and €0.05 per MB of data used, charges will not be fully abolished until June 2017.

uSwitch also expressed concerns that mobile users will forget that this situation will only apply to the EU and not to other regions of the world, and has called on mobile operators to be vigilant in helping their subscribers to avoid bill shock in future.

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch, said: "Of course, the EC's caps don't protect anyone travelling outside the EU. This is where mobile networks need to focus their attentions next, as the fear of sky-high roaming bills further afield certainly isn't an irrational one. More than one in 10 (11 per cent) customers who've been outside the EU in the past year have received a higher than normal bill -- averaging £103."

At the same time, the message that EU roaming charges have fallen substantially over the years is still not getting through to all users: uSwitch noted that more than six in 10 (62 per cent) UK mobile customers are still afraid to use handsets in other EU countries for fear of bill shock when they return home, saying that 34 per cent don't use mobile phones abroad at all.

The data is largely based on a consumer survey of 2,171 UK mobile phone users via Censuswide. Responses were collected between 13/04/16 and 15/04/16.

For more:
- see this uSwitch release

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