Britons travelling abroad this summer could accidentally rack up huge phone bills of up to £165 a day, a new study has revealed.
Even moderate phone usage in popular non-EU destinations could result in large fees thanks to roaming charges, comparison website uSwitch warns.
It comes as use of data overseas continues to grow in an age of smartphones and some mobile operators charge hefty rates, depending on your location.
Countries such as the US and Switzerland offer customer-friendly roaming tariffs across most networks whilst the EU has a ‘Roam Like At Home’ policy, allowing British holidaymakers to use their phones for free throughout its 27 other member states.
However, research by Thomas Cook earlier this year showed that a growing number of people are holidaying outside of the EU, where these rules do not apply and daily roaming fees are becoming increasingly high.
This means millions of Britons heading overseas must keep a close eye on their usage, in order to make sure they are not inadvertently overspending.
‘The EU’s “Roam Like At Home” rules have helped to ease some of these concerns, but a level of complacency has crept in, with many now just assuming roaming charges are a thing of the past – which they are not.’
uSwitch researched which non-EU countries charge the highest average amount per day.
It analysed data from eight of the most popular phone networks and worked out the data based on a person using 48.2MB of data a day while abroad.
The calculation included how often someone posts photos, sends or receives texts and phone calls, streams music and surfs the web on their smartphone.
Giffgaff is the only provider included within the research that offers a pay-as-you-go style top-up arrangement, where customers can only use what they have paid for, therefore, uSwitch looked at how much credit they would need to buy on a daily basis for moderate phone usage.
Virgin Mobile were excluded from the data as they were not deemed to be one of the biggest network providers.
Its research discovered that Morocco has the highest average daily roaming charges – costing users a massive £165 per day.
Not only are the roaming charges high, they vary wildly depending on which provider your contract is with.
For example, iD customers will need to be especially aware as the average cost of roaming with them in Morocco came to a whopping £590.
However, customers with Vodafone could find themselves with daily charges of just £6 – a massive £584 difference – proving it is wise to choose your phone provider carefully if you head abroad often.
iD customers face such high charges as they have to opt in for a maximum daily cap of £25 for all usage – whereas most other services provide an automatic daily cap that customers then have to opt out of.
Travellers to the UAE will face the second highest daily average roaming charges at a cost of £137 a day.
Using your phone in Canada is also pricey, with average daily payments reaching £117 per day – but this time customers can pay just £6 a day with Sky Mobile, as well as Vodafone.
The other popular non-EU destinations saw average daily bills of under £100 – but none fell below £50.
Bhikha added: ‘The best tip for British holidaymakers is to do a little bit of research and preparation. Most networks now offer specific tariffs or add-ons to help prevent customers from losing out.
‘So before travelling overseas, it is worth checking whether your destination is covered by your existing deal, or if an add-on is available. Data is where the real costs are often incurred, and quickly – though most networks do now operate caps to prevent bills spiralling out of control. Source