Telenor on Tuesday last week announced plans to cut data roaming prices across its footprint in a bid to encourage customers to use their smartphones overseas, but company CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas admitted that roaming will always carry a price premium.

In many parts of the world, it is a common practice for customers travelling abroad to simply switch off data roaming as a result of high and varying data roaming retail rates, as well as unpredictable bills. Almost half of European Union citizens would never use mobile data abroad, according to European Commission figures. Some 90 per cent of them limit their use of basic services like e-mails, whereas more than 25 per cent prefer to switch off their smartphone when abroad.

These statistics are also visible in Telenor’s figures. Currently, a mere average 30 percent of Telenor’s European data usage customers is using data roaming when travelling abroad. Telenor Group aims to increase data roaming usage in its European markets to 80 per cent or more by the end of 2017.

Using a mobile phone while travelling will never be free of charge because of the “additional cost elements” involved,

Baksaas said at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. He also said

However, at present the price difference between home services and roaming “is not acceptable,”

To resolve that, Telenor intends to introduce new roaming price plans at the various operations in its footprint. Telenor Sweden was first to market in January with a 29-kronor (€3.1) per day offer that gives users up to 100 MB of data.

Source: Telenor, Total Telecom