The Three-owned budget mobile operator says customers won’t be able to access services such as Whatsapp or email in Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic until September at the earliest, due to a lack of 3G connectivity in those countries.
Budget mobile operator 48 says it is working on multiple roaming problems for customers travelling through large chunks of Europe.
In recent weeks, subscribers to the Three-owned operator have taken to social media to vent their anger at being left without connectivity on holidays or work travel. One said that he had to buy a separate sim card from a local mobile operator in Germany to get access to basic services such as Whatsapp.
A spokesperson for 48 said that the problem is multi-layered, with a solution unlikely until September for many customers.
“Telecommunications networks in Germany, Netherlands and the Czech Republic have retired their 3G services meaning only 2G services such as calls and SMS are available to 48 customers while roaming in those countries,” the spokesperson said.
“48 is currently working to implement a 4G roaming solution for September.”
However, some customers outside those countries have also been complaining of connectivity problems while travelling. EU law requires mobile operators to offer service while subscribers travel in other EU countries without punitive roaming costs.
“48 is aware that some customers may have trouble connecting to services while roaming,” the spokesperson said of the general connectivity issue.
“48 is in the process of solving this issue as quickly as possible. The first fix took place in late June and customers should already see improvements in connectivity. The second fix is expected in September. If any customer is having difficulty, they are asked to contact 48’s care team to troubleshoot. We would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused.”
48 recently cut the ‘fair use’ allowance on its ‘all texts and calls’ service from 10,000 to 5,000 per month.
The spokesperson said that this was to ease potential pressure on Three’s network.
“This change is necessary for the protection of the 48 network and to ensure its customers get a good level of service,” said the spokesperson.” 48 has a fair use policy to ensure that all eligible customers are able to access our services and that use of the services must be reasonable and fair. This policy has been amended to reflect that the fair use threshold for calls and texts are being reduced to 5,000 units of usage, compared with 10,000 units of usage previously. We know that the 5,000 usage is sufficient for the vast majority of 48 customers, with less than 1pc of customers currently consuming 10,000 usage levels.”
Earlier this year, 48 raised the price of its monthly tariff from €10.99 to €12.99 for new subscribers. The service offers 200GB of monthly data, which is higher than budget rivals such as Eir-owned Gomo (120GB).