With plenty of stories in the press concerning poor holidaymakers who have inadvertently racked up crippling mobile phone bills whilst using their handsets abroad, a recent report on phone usage within the EU comes as no surprise. The survey carried out by the European Commission discovered that more than 25% of Europeans don’t use their mobile phones when they’re away from their home country.
So out of a total of almost 30,000 people who live in 15 countries within the European Union (including over 3,000 of us Brits), over a quarter of us switch off our mobile phones to avoid paying any roaming charges. A whopping 47% of us don’t use our handsets to access the internet whilst overseas and almost a third avoid making any phone calls. A rather small percentage (8%) use our phones for making and receiving calls as normal when they’re overseas. With regard to texting, over 25% would never consider texting when in another country and approximately 20% will carry on sending texts as they would do usually.
However, roaming rates in the EU have been tumbling since 2007, so perhaps the problem is more one of perception rather than reality. Since July of last year, roaming rates in the EU have been capped to 24p per minute for making a call, 7p per minute for receiving a call, 8p for sending a text and 45p per megabyte of data downloaded. Lower than you thought, perhaps?
Better still, as of July 2014, the European Commission will be banning roaming charges on incoming calls – so no need to turn your phone off as soon as you arrive just in case a friend or relative phones you. And as of 2016, the EC is aiming to ban roaming charges altogether.
So although we’d still recommend you’re careful when using your phone in the EU, you can there’s no need to lock it away in some dark corner of your luggage for the duration of your holiday.