Mobile operators are “missing out on a market of around 300 million mobile phone users because of current pricing strategies” related to roaming, according to a new European Commission survey.

The survey found that 47 per cent of respondents would never use mobile internet services in another EU country, and “more than a quarter” simply switch off mobiles when travelling.

And it is frequent travellers – who are potentially the most lucrative – who are most likely to switch-off data roaming when in a different country, with the watchdog suggests is because they are better informed about the costs of data roaming.

In a bullish statement, Neelie Kroes (pictured), EC VP, said: “I am honestly shocked by these figures. It shows we have to finish the job and eliminate roaming charges. Consumers are limiting their phone use in extreme ways and this makes no sense for the companies either.”

“It’s not just a fight between holiday-makers and telecoms companies. 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,” she continued.

And following on from reports about the success of Europe’s app economy, the Commission also said that “barriers like roaming charges put a brake on parts of this new sector”. Travel guide, photo and map apps are particularly affected.

The survey comes after tough comments from Kroes, who has threatened more regulation if operators do not cut premium roaming charges within Europe.

The European Commission survey polled 28,000 citizens.