Mobile internet use abroad ‘has tripled’

O2 finds customers use mobile broadband to keep in ‘constant’ contact with friends and family when travelling abroad with smartphones.

Mobile internet usage abroad may have 'tripled' in the last nine months, according to O2.

3G mobile broadband traffic from customers travelling in Europe has increased by 200% since last summer, when the mobile network operator launched a new mobile data 'roaming' package.

With O2 Travel, which applies in 29 countries across Europe, customers are charged a flat rate of £1.99 per day for up to 15Mb of mobile internet usage.

Phil Maple, consumer general manager at O2, said: "We've worked with our network partners across Europe to make it more affordable for our customers to access maps, guide books and reviews on their mobile - and to stay in touch with people back home.

"It seems travellers are embracing the digital possibilities on offer as a result."

Research by O2 found almost half of customers keep in 'constant' contact with friends and relatives - communicating more than once a day - when travelling abroad on holiday.

While 60% send texts and 39% make phone calls to loved ones back in the UK, nearly a third use their mobile internet to send emails and 35% stay in touch on Facebook.

Contract customers using O2 Travel also get discounted calls.

After a 50p connection charge, they can make or receive calls from any European country, then talk for up to 60 minutes at no extra cost.

O2 Travel was introduced last year in response to new EU legislation limiting the cost of data roaming. The rule change was intended to protect consumers who may have previously suffered a nasty 'bill shock' on returning from their holiday.

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