Proximus brand sees mobile data usage quadruple from roam-like-home trial

roaming, Proximus, Scarlet

Scarlet, the low-cost mobile brand of Proximus, has revealed roamers use 10 percent more data abroad than when at home as operators prepare to incorporate new EU regulation.

The Belgian company, which provides “no-frills” telephony, mobile, internet and TV, was able to share insight having abolished roaming charges to EU countries in May 2016.

All operators in Europe are legally obliged to offer “roam-like-home” services from tomorrow (15 June).

Scarlet said mobile data usage by roamers had quadrupled since it scrapped the charges, while users consumed 10 percent more data when roaming than when at home.

The company, which does not publicise how many subscribers it has, also declined to share the precise amount of data roamers had used.

There was no marked increase in the number calls and text messages, which the company put down to their prices being easier to calculate than data, as well as the overall trend of mobile internet being used as a substitute for traditional telephony.

On average, Scarlet said customers roamed for 10 days per year, with three countries – France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – accounting for 80 percent of the roaming.

Scarlet said it had not increased prices to offset any loss of revenues.

In its Q1 financial release, Proximus noted that the abolition of roaming charges across all its brands would result in €61 million hit.

[Read more: BICS continues to drag down Proximus revenue growth]

Bruno Delhaise, Scarlet’s Managing Director, said his customers had taken “full advantage of their mobile throughout the EU”.

He added: “We found that Belgians had a real fear of being landed with an unpleasant surprise on their telecom bill upon returning from their travels abroad.

“Travels abroad are rather intense times for families and business people, and these days finding your way, sharing photos and videos with your friends, listening to music and watching films is all possible on mobile devices whilst on the move.

“It is therefore not surprising that mobile data usage is higher than at home.

“Another explanation for this is the lack of, or difficulty connecting to, a Wi-Fi network while on the move.”

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