Maltese travellers using their phones more while abroad

Maltese travellers are among the biggest beneficiaries of the scrapping of roaming fees in the EU, according to a new Eurobarometer survey.

Under the Roam Like at Home rules introduced on June 15 under the Maltese Presidency, users pay the same price for mobile calls, texts and data at home or anywhere in the EU.

A Flash Eurobarometer survey, carried out at the end of August, found that 95 per cent of Maltese people who travelled after June 15 were aware of the changes, the highest awareness rate in Europe, and 83 per cent, the second-highest, felt the changes would benefit them or their families.

The survey found that across the EU, travellers were already changing their usage habits while abroad, with twice as many using data while roaming as often as at home after June 15 (31 per cent) compared to those who had travelled in the months before.

Those who never used mobile data abroad halved from 42 per cent before roaming fees were scrapped to 21 per cent after.

Maltese travellers have also increased their usage. Those who used mobile data as often abroad as at home increased from 26 per cent before to 31 after, the same as the EU average, while for text messages the figure rose from 25 per cent to an EU-leading 50.

In general, the Maltese emerge among the least restrictive users of their mobiles while abroad. The study found they were the most likely to make voice calls or send text messages as often or more often abroad as at home, and the least likely to never make voice calls while abroad.

They were also the most likely to use mobile internet more often abroad than at home. According to the European Commission, mobile operators across the EU have reported an important rise in data traffic due to travellers, multiplying several times this summer compared to last, a substantial part of which can be attributed to the new rules.

“We see that people are keen to use their phones like at home when travelling in the EU without the fear of a bill shock, and mobile operators are investing in networks to meet increased demand,” said Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market.

“Our new EU telecoms rules will encourage such investments; they should be adopted by the European Parliament and Member States as soon as possible.”