The sheer scale of smartphone roaming charges paid out by Britons was laid bare today, on the day that prices were cut across the EU after years of horror stories of holidays ruined by bill shocks.
From today, EU roaming charges drop to a maximum of 15p per minute to make a call, 4p per minute to receive one and 7p to send a text message. More importantly given shifting smartphone usage patterns, mobile data usage is capped at 16p per MB.
The reduction comes ahead of roaming charges being scrapped completely across the EU in late 2015.
But the caps have come too late for many Britons, after uSwitch calculated that Britons have racked up total roaming charges of £394 million, with the average consumer affected stung for an extra £55.59.
uSwitch research also discovered that a lack of awareness of which countries are in the EU is partly to blame, as well as confusion over regulatory changes.
Of those polled, 41% think Switzerland is in the EU. A further 38% also think Turkey is an EU country.
Conversely, one in eight (13%) of the sample believe that 2015 will see roaming charges be done away with worldwide rather than solely within the paramaters of the EU. More worrying still, nearly one in ten (9%) think EU roaming charges have already been scrapped.
Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, said: “Not knowing which countries are in the European Union could cause havoc for mobile users this summer as they could wrongly think they are protected from roaming charges in popular destinations like Turkey or Switzerland.
“Brits need to add ‘check roaming charges’ to their pre-holiday to do lists. Talking to your network before you jet off will very likely spare you a big bill later, as they may be able to advise a bundle, or at the very least let you how much it costs to use your phone abroad.”
Other troubling findings from the study were that 71% of Britons have never checked with their carrier if a money-saving bundle would enable them to cut their outlay, while 33% have no idea what their network charges for roaming.