It's not just European Union (EU) officials in Brussels and business who think mobile phone companies charge too much for making calls abroad.

Some 63% of European citizens avoid using their mobile phones while travelling, mainly because of the costs attached, according to a survey carried out for the European Commission.

On average, roaming prices are still four times higher than the cost of national mobile calls. In some cases, roaming prices can exceed €12 (£8) for a four-minute call abroad, the Commission said today, unveiling the survey conducted by research company Eurobarometer.

A huge 70% of the survey 25,000 participants from around the EU said legislation was needed in to make sure that prices for making and receiving calls on mobile phones when travelling in other EU countries are not substantially higher than those at home.

Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed would support any moves by the Commission to step in and bring down text message (SMS or short messaging service) roaming charges.

In spite of recent moves by phone companies to reduce roaming charges, they remain "very high," said Viviane Reding, the European commissioner in charge of telecom policy, at a press conference.

"A majority of travellers are deterred from using their mobile phones, some even switch their phones off or leave them at home," she added, as her proposal for legislation to force down the cost of roaming begins its journey through the EU's two legislative chambers, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

Europe's telecom industry has criticised Reding's plan to intervene in the mobile phone market. It is lobbying parliamentarians and national governments to water down the Commission proposal for forced price cuts.

The 25 telecom ministers will discuss the Commission proposal at a meeting to take place on 11 December. The Parliament is expected to give an initial response in the coming weeks.