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Roaming charges cost British travellers £112m

Roaming charges abroad cost British travellers £112m last year, a report has shown, with the average holidaymaker’s phone bill increasing by £20

One in ten travellers saw their bill rise by as much as £50 and almost a third of those surveyed said the increase was up to £200 more, according to new figures released by Thomson and First Choice.

The survey was based on the experiences of 1,000 adults who went on holiday in 2013. In total, three quarters of holidaymakers saw bill increases due to roaming charges.

The poll also showed that 69 per cent of those questioned thought they would spend more time on their mobile phone or other mobile devices (e.g. a tablet) while abroad if there were no additional charges.

The European Union introduced caps on roaming charges this year but research by uSwitch showed the majority of smartphones users thought the charges were still too high.

Plans by the European Commission to lower roaming charges will be implemented in 2016. Until then, Three, a mobile service provider, has scrapped roaming charges for British travellers visiting the US, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Macau, Australia, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, the Republic of Ireland and Hong Kong.

A survey of around 30 hotel groups and more than 40 individual properties, carried out by Telegraph Travel in 2012, found that around two thirds of hotels still charge for Wi-Fi access, with luxury hotels – particularly those in London – often the worst offenders.

When getting connected is free in public places from a McDonald’s to a coffee shop, Wi-Fi charges in hotels are one of a traveller’s biggest annoyances.

It appears that hotels are finally getting the message however. Several high-profile luxury hotels (often the worst offenders) have scrapped their charges since 2012, while Accor, which owns the Ibis, Mercure, Sofitel and Novotel chains, introduced free Wi-Fi at about 700 properties. The high cost of other services and extortionate minibar prices, however, remain the norm.