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Roaming rip-off puts travellers off phoning home

EC research has found that Europeans will switch off mobiles or leave them at home to avoid the cost of making calls abroad
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

The high cost of roaming is putting Europeans off using their mobiles abroad, according to research from the European Commission, which found that eight out of 10 European travellers have been deterred from phoning home due to price.

The research also found that a proportion of Europeans take steps to dodge roaming costs, with around 8 percent turning their phone off and a further 7 percent leaving their phone at home. UK phone users are even more conscious of roaming, with 10 percent not switching their phones on and 13 percent not packing their phone with their passport to save money.

EC information commissioner Viviane Reding has been leading the campaign to cut roaming prices across the continent, calling for a reduction in retail prices. Unsurprisingly, the European Commission survey found a majority of Europeans in favour of the Commission taking steps to regulate prices.

The Commission's price-cutting drive has been unpopular with operators, who have recently launched a series of trims to their roaming tariffs, hoping to placate the Commission and prevent regulatory action. Reding has called previously for roaming prices to match domestic ones, but has labelled operators' cuts to date a "step in the right direction".

She said in a statement: "I call on all mobile operators to help tear down this last visible border in Europe's internal market. It is not acceptable that the burden of international mobile roaming continues to be shouldered by ordinary citizens who pay standard tariffs."

According to a separate report from consultancy AT Kearney, roaming costs have, on average, fallen by 22 percent in the past year. The EC's research revealed that a four-minute roaming call will cost between €4 (£2.70) and €6 (£4).

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