45% of UK smartphone users say they would switch mobile network provider if it meant they could significantly reduce holiday data roaming charges according to a new survey. The findings come in the wake of new rules forcing phone companies to cut data roaming charges in EU countries and cap the total amount customers can be billed for mobile data use while travelling within the EU.
The research, which is based on a survey of 1000 UK adults by rapid online survey company, Usurv, reveals 67% of smartphone users want to access the internet from their phones while abroad on holiday but 45% have avoided it because of high data roaming charges. 18% have been put off because mobile phone data charges are too difficult to understand, while 5% are wary after running up very high bills on previous holidays.
The data indicates that Internet access is extremely important to many holidaymakers with 18% saying that free wi-fi Internet access is an essential requirement when booking holiday accommodation – with a further 17% saying it is an important consideration in their choice of accommodation. Just 3% actively avoid places with free Internet in a bid to ‘get away from it all’.
The top reason for accessing the Internet on holiday is being able to send and receive personal emails with friends and family (20%) followed by using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter (18%). Women (28%) were nearly twice as likely as Men (15%) to want access to social networks while holidaying. And only 8% want Internet for accessing work related emails.
Top Reasons for holiday internet access
1.Send and receive emails from friends and family – 20%
2.Stay active on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter – 18%
3.Surfing the web to find information about the local area – 10%
4.Send and receive work emails – 8%
5.Surfing the web to keep up with what’s happening at home – 6%
6.Making or receiving Skype calls – 5%
Commenting on the findings, Guy Potter, research director at Usurv said: “This research shows that accessing the internet is now an integral part of many people’s holidays abroad, but cost is putting the majority of people off. This means holidaymakers will welcome the EU’s new rules that force operators to cut data roaming charges – but our study shows that there’s a major opportunity for mobile phone companies to gain new subscribers if they can undercut the competition.”
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