The Carphone Warehouse has published some smartphone research which indicates the extent to which holidaymakers are still caught out by roaming charges, even in these days of greater awareness of bill-shock.
Four out of five smartphone owners who were questioned expected to use their handset when they went abroad, and only 6% were aware of the exact cost of using their phone out of the country.
And apparently 62% of the 2,000 respondents admitted that they’ve faced an unexpectedly large bill after returning from holiday. 81% said they had received a bill which was up to £100 more than their normal monthly payment.
Of those who have been stung, the largest amount – a third of those surveyed – said they had spent time social networking when away. One in five admitted to accessing the Internet at least once every day.
Old fashioned phone calls were also a reason, with a third of those questioned also saying that they had rung family members to tell them just how hot it was, and to ask how much it was piddling down back home.
While new EU regulations have meant that call charges have been capped inside Europe, constant net activity is still causing bill problems, although roaming charges will likely be further addressed by the EU in the near future.
Although damage control can be done now, Carphone Warehouse points out, simply by activating cost-saving bundles before going away. 90% of those questioned hadn’t looked into such bundles, which could have saved them the pain of those extra charges.
Matt Stringer, MD of The Carphone Warehouse, advised: “Simply [asking] about holiday bundles is a great way to help bring your bills down. Data users should keep a look out for wi-fi spots where they can connect to the internet without using the local 3G network.”
The Carphone Warehouse is also planning to set up temporary holiday help desks in Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow airports throughout the summer, to help advise holidaymakers on how best to economise their mobile usage.