Mobile Phone Users Shocked By Unexpected Call Charges When Abroad
Published: 1 July 2010 By MoneyHighStreet Staff Leave a Comment
Nearly a third of mobile phone users travelling abroad are shocked by the unexpected call charges when they return home, according to uSwitch.
32% of consumers using their mobile phones abroad are shocked by the large mobile phone bill when they return home, the research by uSwitch has found. With 70% of holiday makers not checking the costs of using their phones abroad, before setting off, it is perhaps not surprising that so many people are unprepared for the large bills later.
Although around 22 million holiday makers will be taking their mobile phone with them only 41% of them will ask their provider about roaming packages and many keep their phones switched on, unaware that they risk being charged for this even if they don’t make calls.
Many mobile users are unaware that the minute you switch your phone on when abroad and your phone registers onto a local network you will be billed at overseas rates – you will have to pay to receive calls, for someone leaving you a voicemail message and to pick up voicemail messages.
Those using mobile broadband services abroad may also be incurring costs unwittingly particularly if a device is set to automatic data roaming, users may be continuously paying for Internet connectivity that they aren’t even using, as Matthew Wheeler, communications expert at uSwitch.com:
“Mobile Internet users must check that the data roaming is turned off when not in use to prevent online services such as email updating automatically. They could also try to avoid visiting sites that are heavy on the visuals, as data is charged per megabyte downloaded – although this may be a hard ask for the Facebook and Twitter addicts amongst us.”
The new measures from the EU applying today that places an automatic 50 Euro limit on roaming charges, will serve to limit charges for those who may be unaware of the cost implications of their phone usage, however this may prevent those with higher usage requirements from using their phone as much as they need. IN this case the customer should contact their provider before departure to ensure that the cap has been lifted.
As Mr Wheeler adds: “Contacting your mobile network should be high on every mobile user’s holiday checklist, alongside their sun cream and passport. Using a mobile phone abroad shouldn’t automatically lead to a big bill if people stay in control. Users can opt for a special roaming tariff, fix a cap or even use a cut price local SIM card to keep bills low. At the very least, ask your network to switch off your voicemail service before you leave the UK to avoid these hidden charges.”
The new spending limit only applies to EU countries, and so those travelling to other countries will remain unprotected form unexpectedly high mobile phone costs.