Roaming regulation curtails social media use of cost-conscious consumers
EU ROAMING regulation is having little impact on consumers' mobile usage habits whilst abroad, new online research from mobile roaming expert MACH and YouGov has revealed today.
Although 56 per cent of respondents with a mobile phone stated that they were aware of the rules regarding roaming, 77 per cent of these said that it had made no difference to how they used their mobile phone when travelling abroad.
Despite the introduction of legislation specifically designed to lower the cost of using a mobile phone within the EU, the perceived expensive nature of roaming charges appears to continue to weigh heavily on consumers’ minds. More than one-third (38 per cent) of online respondents indicated that they did not use their mobile phone at all while abroad, with 54 per cent of these identifying the cost of usage as a reason why.
Regardless of this current reluctance and as the mass-market uptake of sophisticated smartphone devices continues to grow, there is increased demand to use mobile phones for social networking and micro-social blogging while abroad. 50 per cent of all online respondents with a mobile between the age of 18 and 34 said they would most like to access some form of data service (e.g. Facebook, Twitter or email) when travelling abroad, with 62 per cent of these highlighting cheaper roaming rates as the factor which would encourage them to do so.
According to Paul Merry, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, “There is a clear demand to use mobile data services while abroad but the perception that doing so will lead to unacceptably high bills often prevents users from doing so. In their home market, users are accustomed to paying flat–rate fees to use mobile data services, but when they roam it is often usage based, which impedes visibility on cost.”
Merry added: “There is significant latent demand among mobile users to access the Internet from their mobiles when travelling and it is up to operators to stimulate this demand with a combination of pricing and effective marketing. Technology solutions can also play a role in stimulating usage of roaming services and operators should thoroughly assess whether to deploy those which have proven most effective in doing so.”
Artur Michalczyk, Chief Product Officer, MACH commented: “Technology solutions such as MACH’s Retail Roaming Solution enable operators to develop bespoke roaming tariffs which are tailored to complement their individual customers’ needs and usage patterns. MACH’s new Data Roaming Engine, to be launched in Q2, will enable operators to effectively empower their subscribers to select the services they wish to use abroad - the holidaying consumer may opt for Facebook-only access and the small business user for Email-only access. We expect that operators implementing these services, which offer users transparent and predictable cost, will see significant uptake in the use of data services while roaming.”
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