Roaming Free: EU’s New Mobile Policy and Carrier Loyalty Among Unlocked Phone Users

Mobile Industry News for the Week of June 12, 2017
The European Union roaming law went into effect this week. Citizens can use their mobile devices without incurring extra charges as they travel across member countries. Unlocked phone users are enjoying a different type of mobile freedom: choosing a new carrier as they please. A new report from The NPD Group revealed that those with unlocked phones don’t feel particularly attached to one carrier because they enjoy “freedom of choice.” The stories on our minds are below.
EU Roaming Goes Into Effect — As of this Thursday, European Union citizens can enjoy free mobile roaming across member countries. According to TechCrunch, mobile users can travel to different EU countries and won’t be charged extra. Some fair use policies have been put into place in order to avoid “permanent” roamers. Those with unlimited plans also won’t necessarily see them matched abroad. Abolishing roaming fees will have a significant economic impact, and is part of Europe’s larger goal to support digital business across markets. Operators are forbidden to hike their domestic tariffs because of the roaming law, so this initiative is purely an effort to support European mobile consumers.
How Unlocked Phones Impact Brands — A new report from The NPD Group, highlighted in MediaPost, found that consumers who purchase unlocked phones are less loyal to their carriers compared to those who purchase locked phones. This makes sense, as those who generally select unlocked phones enjoy “freedom of choice,” according to Brad Akyuz, director and industry analyst for NPD’s Connected Intelligence. Aykuz also believes that this drop in brand loyalty is connected to price – unlocked phones cost less than locked smartphones, so naturally unlocked phone users will choose cost-effective solutions over loyalty to one carrier. For phone manufacturers, this is an opportunity to increase their own brand loyalty as they attract users more attached to lower-end devices rather than carrier brands.
What news stories are on your minds this week? We’d love to hear what stories you’re dialing into.