The Comsumers Association today warned pay-as-you-go mobile users of the heavy price of using their phones abroad.
For prepay (or pay-as-you-go) customers, it generally costs more to make and receive calls abroad than it does for those who pay monthly, according to the watchdog.
Which? Holiday magazine states an Orange prepay user will be charged twice the monthly customer rate to make a call home or receive calls from the UK while in Europe, making a five-minute call from Europe £6 rather than £3.
"The cost of that mobile phone 'wish you were here' call home has caught out many holiday makers," said Patricia Yates, editor of Which? Holiday. Neither is it any use getting friends to ring you instead as mobile users can also pay a hefty bill to receive calls, send text messages and access voicemail while abroad."
Prepay Vodafone customers are in for an even rougher deal, with a whopping £9.95 charge for a five-minute call from the US.
Telco watchdog Oftel and the European Commission have been investigating these so-called roaming charges for some time. Both are certain that current fees are too high but as yet mobile firms have not been ordered to slash prices.