A lack of awareness of the detail of new EU mobile phone roaming rules due to be implemented later this week is widespread among Irish consumers, according to a new survey.
The results suggest many mobile customers are likely to be lulled into a false and potentially costly sense of security when using their phones for data roaming in the EU over the coming months.
The survey of 1,090 consumers by bonkers.ie found around a quarter are not aware of the new rules, which come into effect on Thursday, while 61% do not know how the new rules will affect them.
Eight out of ten intend to take the “roam-like-at-home” rules in at face value, meaning they are likely to assume they will be able to use their full domestic data allowance while roaming without extra charges, which may not be the case.
The changes will allow Irish mobile user to use the voice call minutes and SMS allowance they enjoy at home while travelling in another EU country, at no extra cost.
But fair usage policies mean that mobile operators will be able to impose caps on the amount of data certain customers can enjoy while roaming, particularly those with unlimited data plans.
If customers breach those caps, they face surcharges of up to €7.70 plus VAT per GB of data.
With the growing popularity of data heavy video streaming services such as Netflix, mobile users who do not know their roaming data allowance could leave themselves exposed to racking up significant bills while travelling abroad.
The survey also found that over a third of Irish holidaymakers avoid using data when travelling in another country because of the fear of “bill shock”.
But it also found that over two thirds say they will increase their foreign data usage after Thursday.
Four out of every ten people say they have received shock roaming bills following a trip abroad.