Watchdog warns over non-EU smartphone charges

The European Commission may have imposed caps on the cost of using smartphones abroad but anyone travelling to a non-member state could still come home to a hefty bill.

non-EU data roaming charges

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Consumer watchdog Which? warned that smartphone users travelling anywhere outside the EU can quickly rack up eye-popping charges, even if their mobile sits idle.

Simply switching a smartphone on whilst abroad generates sizeable charges of around £24 a day, because of applications and downloads that run quietly in the background.

And surfing the web, downloading or streaming while on your holidays could leave you with a bill that runs into the thousands of pounds.

According to Which?, streaming a YouTube video just over four minutes in length for anyone using the Three network in some non-EU countries would cost £66.64, while watching the movie Treasure Island could land users with a £3,600 bill.

Though Three was found to be the most expensve for data roaming, similar charges were imposed by other networks such as Orange, Tesco and T-Mobile.

Coming out best when it came to worldwide roaming charges was TalkTalk, which gave consumers better value with a £3-per-MB charge.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "Using your mobile overseas can be hugely expensive but there are things consumers can do to keep costs down, like using wi-fi where available and turning off data-roaming.

"But we also want to see phone companies doing everything they can to make consumers aware of exactly how much data they're using and the costs."

Have you fallen foul of your mobile network's data roaming charges? Leave your comments below...