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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 1 April 2014

EU 20-somethings want to end roaming and have unrestricted internet access – new survey shows

#roaming #ConnectedContinent @ThinkYoungTW

Young Europeans have said in massive numbers that they want an end to "unbelievable" roaming prices and "unfair" restrictions on what they can and can't access online from their mobile devices, according to a survey of over a thousand 18-34 year olds.

A restricted generation

The study showed that:

  • 93% of young Europeans feel restricted abroad due to high roaming charges; only 37% use mobile Internet when abroad, compared to 86% at home;

  • a majority would increase their mobile usage if roaming fees disappeared;

  • 81% want to have unrestricted Internet access; 25% face restrictions today

  • 79% are in favour of strengthening the EU's regulatory powers in order to guarantee fair prices and to harmonise the internal market.

European Commission Vice-President @NeelieKroesEU said: “Young people have sent us a message loud and clear: that they want to end roaming. They want unrestricted internet access. It’s our job in Brussels to take responsibility and deliver that.”

A 23 year student from Finland says: "When you can literally jog to another country, I find it unbelievable I have to check my 3G is not on to avoid high charges. I also need multiple subscriptions with different numbers to avoid these.”

A self-employed 31 year old German said: "I don’t think it is fair for an internet provider to decide what a user can and can't do on his/her device. If the user is paying for the service, he/she should be able to do what he/she wants."

On Thursday 3 April MEPs will vote on the Commission’s #ConnectedContinent proposed regulation which aims at eliminating roaming charges, introducing netneutrality, and taking other steps to build a telecoms single market in Europe.

The survey was conducted online and in-person by ThinkYoung, a Brussels-based think tank.

Recent data collected by the European Regulatory Authority (BEREC) also showed that recent price reductions have been accompanied by significant increases in consumption.


A study conducted by ThinkYoung, a Brussels-based think tank analysed the young Europeans’ perceptions on key aspects #ConnectedContinent related to net neutrality and roaming charges. Responses were gathered from 1040 EU citizens aged 18-34 via social media and in person between 9th October and 10th November 2013.

This study complements the European Commission's survey released in February (IP/14/152) showing that 94% of Europeans who travel outside their home country limit their use of services like Facebook, because of mobile roaming charges. It showed that telecoms companies are missing out on a market of around 300 million phone users because of current pricing strategies, with negative effects for other businesses such as app makers.

While Europe’s app economy is booming (IP/14/145), barriers like roaming charges put a brake on parts of this new sector. Travel guide, photo and map apps are particularly negatively affected.

And consumers are not just limiting their mobile use when abroad. At home, 70% of people who call other EU countries limit these calls for cost reasons.

The Telecoms Regulation #ConnectedContinent was proposed by the Commission in September 2013. It aims to bring us much closer to a truly single market for telecoms in the EU, by ending roaming charges, guaranteeing an open internet for all by banning blocking and degrading of content, coordinating spectrum licensing for wireless broadband, giving internet and broadband customers more transparency in their contracts, and making it easier for customers to switch providers.

Useful links

More on Roaming

More on Net neutrality

More on Connected Continent

Neelie Kroes' website

Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter


Email: Tel: +32.229.57361 Twitter: @RyanHeathEU

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