UK travellers facing £44 roaming charges when travelling in Europe this summer – report

UK residents taking holidays abroad this summer have been charged an average of  £44 in data roaming charges, according to new research from Uswitch mobiles.

Vodafone, Three and EE all now charge their customers for data roaming when travelling to EU countries, which can amount in costs of up to £2.29 per day. Holidaymakers travelling further afield could be charged as much as £6 per MB of data used.

Uswitch mobiles commissioned Censuswide to conduct a survey of 2,008 UK residents, aged 16+ between 5-7 July, asking questions such as: “To what extent are you aware if your current network provider offers free EU roaming or if additional roaming charges will apply when you go on holiday?”; how much, if anything at all, would you be willing to spend additionally on mobile roaming when abroad on top of your current mobile contract?”; “to what extent, if at all, do you agree or disagree with the following statement: ‘I have been caught out by roaming charges abroad before’”; and “how much were you charged?”

In terms of being caught out by surprise charges to access data whilst abroad, 32 per cent of respondents claimed they had been stung with roaming charges whilst travelling. 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 per cent) claiming they had 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.

Whilst 32 per cent of respondents revealed that they had been hit by roaming charges, 44 per cent 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 for data while travelling, the average amount they were willing to pay was £16.

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 per cent of them), would only pay up to £10.

“As the summer holiday season approaches, it’s clear that being able to access data while abroad is a top priority for many Brits,” said Uswitch mobiles’ Rehan Ali. “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.”