According to a survey by Truphone, a mobile internet network operator, almost four in every ten of us will still feel cheated by mobile phone roaming charges even if the EU parliament votes tomorrow to reduce them by 70%. One in eight of us say that even the dramatic reduction proposed will keep charges at "rip-off" levels, while a further quarter say that such charges will "still be expensive". Only 11% say the proposed reduction will make roaming charges "cheap".
However, while 37% think the proposed reduction will make roaming charges about right, no level of reduction will increase the transparency of these charges for the huge majority of phone users. A staggering 44% confess to having "absolutely no idea" how much it costs to make or receive mobile phone calls while abroad, while a further 37% join them in not knowing how much using their phone abroad costs until the bill arrives.
A lot of us stand to benefit from any belated reduction in roaming charges. During 2007 more than a third of us will use our UK mobile phone while on holiday in the EU, and 6% will use it while travelling on business in the EU. But a successful vote tomorrow will do nothing to lower the roaming charges faced by the 16% of us expecting to use our mobile phone outside the EU this year - and will possibly have the knock-on effect of increasing charges for calls made and received outside the EU as the operators look to recoup lost revenue.
James Tagg, is CEO of Truphone, a mobile internet network operator, whose customers make mobile phone calls over the Wi-Fi and the internet without incurring roaming charges. He said: "If the EU votes for cheaper roaming calls tomorrow, it will still be too little for most of us: reducing an outrageous sum by 70% still leaves a large sum. It also does nothing for the millions of us that enjoy using SMS messages to stay in touch. And the operators clearly ought to be a lot more communicative, as their customers still won't know if they need to budget for taking their mobile on holiday".
No doubt Truphone would be very keen for us to point out at this stage that their customers can take advantage of technology that does away with such roaming charges by using the internet to carry mobile phone calls, making many mobile phone calls worldwide as free as email.