The EU on Monday claimed that around 300 million consumers limit their mobile use when travelling within Europe due to roaming charges.
According to the results of a survey of 28,000 citizens, 47% said they would never access the Internet on a mobile while in another EU country, while just 10% would regularly access their email. 28% switch their phone off altogether when they go abroad.
The European Commission said frequent travellers are more likely to avoid mobile data than occasional travellers because they are more aware of the real costs of roaming.
"I am honestly shocked by these figures," said the EU's Digital Agenda chief Neelie Kroes, in a statement. "It shows we have to finish the job and eliminate roaming charges."
Abolishing roaming charges is one of the major reforms proposed in Kroes' Connected Continent package.
Roaming is "not just a fight between holiday-makers and telecom companies," she said. "Millions of businesses face extra costs because of roaming, and companies like app makers lose revenue too. Roaming makes no sense in a single market – it's economic madness."
Aversion to roaming costs telecom operators too.
According to Syniverse, mobile roamers spend around $17 billion globally per year on alternative means of accessing mobile data while overseas in a bid to avoid roaming fees.
These range from hotel WiFi, other means of WiFi access, and purchasing local SIM cards.