This study conducted by TNS Opinion & Social at the request of Directorate-General Information Society and Media looks at these developments from the consumer perspective after the implementation of the first and the second Regulation: do Europeans still change their usage pattern or switch off their phones while travelling within the EU? Do they still think that the cost of roaming is unreasonable? Are they aware of the positive changes since 2006? And has this led to a less limited use of roaming services? In other words, the results of this survey give an insight into actual consumer behaviour and how it has changed in the last 5 years, during which the Roaming Regulations have been adopted.
Mobile phones are increasingly becoming not only the most important but also the only means of voice telephony for Europeans. 87% of respondents have a mobile phone compared to 80% in 2006 while 26% now use it exclusively in comparison to 20% in 2006.
Consequently, the group of potential users of roaming services is also constantly growing, both in terms of size and heterogeneity. The differences in mobile phone penetration between countries are shrinking and even the oldest age group, which showed significantly lower levels of mobile phone usage in 2006, are quickly catching up with their younger counterparts, with 71% now having a mobile phone compared to 57% in 2006.
Significantly fewer Europeans report having travelled in the EU in this present survey than in 2006. This is undoubtedly a consequence of the economic downturn. In
2010, 48% of mobile phone users say they have travelled within last 4-5 years and 28% have travelled both prior to and since the Roaming Regulation.
An overwhelming 72% of mobile users continue to limit their mobile voice calls while abroad because they are concerned about the costs.
The perceived excessive roaming costs still appear to discourage Europeans of using roaming services, even if a majority of mobile phone users agrees that these costs have decreased. Among frequent travellers, 61% are aware of the positive price developments that have occurred over the last four years.