Travellers still use mobile phones abroad

Travellers still use mobile phones abroad

Half of people still use their mobile phones abroad, despite excessive roaming charges.

Despite a constant spate of horror stories about punitive roaming charges, almost half of holidaymakers continue to use their mobile phones when abroad, running the risk of racking up huge bills.

The figures are revealed by World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, in the World Travel Market 2011 Industry Report on Monday.

The report surveyed 1,000 people – all of whom had a holiday of seven days at least seven days abroad or in the UK in 2011 - with 48 per cent of them saying they continued to use their smartphones when out of the country.

Horror stories of holidaymakers updating their Facebook status from the sun lounger to return from holiday to face phone bills amounting to thousands of pounds are rife.

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Last week, a British holidaymaker was slapped with a £4,000 bill for roaming charges incurred on an American trip.

Robin Baynes, 30, received a bill for £4,180.83, despite buying a £6 bundle prior to the trip. The bill – which has since been reduced by Orange – was 80 times his usual monthly tariff.

Despite the astonishing number of people who still use their mobiles abroad, 42 per cent of those questioned said they did not use their phone on holiday thanks to awareness of high roaming charges.

Roaming charges are levied by foreign networks that carry calls and messages to the phones of those who have travelled outside the range of their home network.

Such charges are passed on to the customer and can lead to huge bills – a gigabyte of data can cost £3 in Britain.

World Travel Market Chairman Fiona Jeffery said: “The number of people using their mobile phones abroad despite such high roaming charges shows how important the mobile phone has become in our lives.

“People used to go on holiday to get away from their everyday lives and recharge their batteries, but mobile internet access means we now feel we have to be connected 24 hours a day, where ever we are and whatever the cost.”