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Holidaymakers are hit with £44 additional mobile roaming charges, study reveals

With 49% of Brits unaware of the international roaming charges that their mobile operator impose, it is often an unwanted shock to the bank account when they return home from holiday having not factored in data usage.

On average, people have been charged an extra £44 for roaming charges abroad

As Vodafone, Three and EE all now charge their customer’s data roaming when travelling to EU countries, this can amount in a charge of up to up to £2.29 per day. However, if holidaymakers are looking to travel further afield they could be charged as much as £6 per MB of data used, making it possible to spend considerable amounts.

In terms of being caught out by surprise charges to access data whilst abroad, 32% of Uswitch mobiles respondents claimed they had been stung with roaming charges whilst traveling. The percentage of people that had been charged was far higher in the younger demographic, with just under half of 25-34 year olds (49%) claiming they’d faced additional charges for using data outside of their plan.

Of those that had been caught out, on average they were charged £44 on top of their existing mobile contracts, With the 35-44 year old demographic being hit the highest, as a whole, Brits on average revealed that they were charged an additional £44 on top of thier bills.

On average Brits would spend an additional £16 on roaming

Whilst 32% of respondent’s revealed that they had been hit by roaming charges, 44% of respondents claimed that if they were given the choice, they wouldn’t be prepared to spend anything on top of their current contract. Of those willing to pay, the average amount was £16 whilst travelling.

However, the generational split is clear amongst those who would be willing to pay additional on top of their current mobile contract. When asked if they would pay anything extra to access the internet abroad, 65% of respondents aged 55+ claimed they would not whereas less than a fifth (18%) of those aged 16-24 said the same.

The 16-24 age bracket also were prepared to pay the most for roaming abroad, averaging at £20 per person to ensure they could roam whilst outside of the UK. Those respondents of the 55+ demographic that were prepared to pay extra (35% of them), would only pay up to £10.

Over half of 25-34 year olds are likely to choose their provider based on who is offering EU roaming

For those travellers and holidaymakers who don’t have roaming included in their current contract, Uswitch mobiles posed the question of whether they’d seek out a temporary contract or move to a SIM only rolling contract with roaming included.

Over a third of all Brits surveyed (35%) said they’d prefer to take out a rolling SIM only contract that included EU roaming than a temporary contract or international SIM solution. More than half of 25-34 year olds (53%) said they were more likely to take out a rolling SIM only contract than another temporary option.

However, whilst fewer UK providers now offer inclusive EU roaming, it’s clear that it may still be a key decider for consumers when choosing their network. Over half of 25-34 respondents (53%) said they were likely to choose their mobile network provider based on whether they offered EU roaming. Of the main network providers in the UK, O2 is  the only one that still offers EU roaming as standard, while some MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) such as iD Mobile and Lebara also still offer EU roaming as part of some contracts and plans.

Uswitch’s mobiles expert, Rehan Ali comments, “ As the summer holiday season approaches, it’s clear that being able to access data while abroad is a top priority for many Brits. With inclusive roaming now being a rarer perk amongst mobile networks, we anticipate that  consumers may shift towards providers that still offer inclusive EU roaming in their plans.

Whilst some providers are offering temporary international SIM solutions (e.g. eSIMs), Brits would prefer to have roaming included in their existing phone contract. With the average UK consumer being caught out as much as £44 in additional charges, it’s important Brits seek out the best options before they travel abroad this summer.”

If you are looking for a low cost data plan that you can use when on holiday, visit Uswitch’s SIM only deals to see the best deals.

Lisa Baker is Group Editor for the Need to See IT Publishing Group. Lisa writes about HR, Technology, Health, the Environment and Business.
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