Summer UK roaming traffic in Europe triples

Europe map with network points

UK operator O2 has published the data it captured from its customers over the summer to paint a picture of where, if anywhere, they went on their holidays.

The principal datapoint is that average weekly roaming numbers to ten top destinations was up 203% compared to last year. Of course there was still all kinds of Covid hassle going one then, including lockdowns, quarantines and mask mandates, making it a massive hassle to leave the house, let alone the country. So while it’s not surprising to see a significant increase in travel this year, the extent is an encouraging sign that we’re finally emerging from the madness of the previous two years.

The top ten list of European roaming destinations holds few surprises, dominated as it is by countries with a Mediterranean coast. Having said that, Central Europe features strongly too and maybe the delights of summertime Ireland are being overlooked by itinerant Brits. Spain was a long way ahead of France and the overall numbers were apparently only 11% down on the pestilence-free 2019 ones.

  1. Spain
  2. France
  3. Greece
  4. Italy
  5. Portugal
  6. Poland
  7. Germany
  8. The Netherlands
  9. Cyprus
  10. Croatia

O2 seems to have multiple reason for sharing this data. One was to bring attention to its O2 Motion, which provided the data and offers ‘rich insights on aggregated and anonymised population movement, profiles and preferences.’ Another was to somehow promote its small business tariffs, allowing long-suffering entrepreneurs to keep working even when on holiday. And then, of course, there’s the fact that it’s the only UK MNO not to reintroduce any additional roaming charges, so far.

“From working from home to working from ‘roam’, it’s great to see travel resume this summer, and small businesses feeling empowered to work from anywhere,” said Gregg Pearce, Director of SOHO at VMO2. “At Virgin Media O2, our decision not to reintroduce roaming fees in Europe is an important part of our efforts to upgrade the UK – and this includes giving businesses of all sizes more choice in how and where they work. From business trips to hybrid holidays and everything in between, we’re enabling our customers to roam freely, worry free, this summer.”

Post-pandemic, post-Brexit Europe is certainly far from ‘worry free’ for British tourists, with conspicuously understaffed non-EU passport checkpoints and ad hoc mask demands among the ordeals on offer. But it’s great to see the stoical Great British public remains keen to enjoy the many charms offered by its southern neighbours and hopefully its Brexit penance will be considered paid before long.


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  1. Avatar Pippo 26/08/2022 @ 2:08 pm

    Every operators that monitor and manage traffic of CSPs can draw a map of DoU (Data of Usage), and have a strong view on how the user are spending their data for voice and data, which social media they use, which video streaming is downloaded, etc etc

    This is not the point!

    The question is: where is the so called PRIVACY of the users? This should have been an internal source of information as motivation for not introduce Roaming fee, and not share how subscribers spend their own holidays – that is a form of observing individual privacy!

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 26/08/2022 @ 2:10 pm

      The data is anonymised.

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