Business Technology

Friday 20 April 2018

Denis Naughten: Ireland will review mobile charges policy every two years to ensure there’s no slippage in ‘Roam Like at Home’ deal

Operators will still be able to charge roaming fees for some data (Stock Image)
Operators will still be able to charge roaming fees for some data (Stock Image)

Denis Naughten [Minister for Communications]

From today shock high mobile roaming charges will come to an end as ‘Roam Like at Home’ comes into effect across Europe.

‘Roam Like at Home’ means that when travelling in the EU, all of us will be able to call, send text messages or surf the web on our mobiles for the same price we pay at home.

Ireland has been fighting hard at the EU negotiating table to bring an end to exorbitant bills for people travelling in the EU and today is a result of all that hard work by officials in my Department. It is a good day for Irish mobile phone users.

I met with all the main mobile operators yesterday morning and asked them to give me an assurance that they are ready for these new changes, which they did.

I was adamant that costs should not be passed down to consumers in respect of the market effects of ‘Roam Like at Home’ and technically the same level of service must be offered as that experienced at home.

The operators assured me that their customers will have received notice of their exact roaming data allowance. In some cases I was informed that providers are offering higher allowances which is welcome news.

‘Roam Like at Home’ is subject to a Fair Use Policy which applies generous limits to the amount of data that can be used abroad for free in respect of some plans, such as unlimited data bundles and prepaid plans.

The threshold is based on the tariff each customer has as part of their phone plan.

Currently, for example, those customers paying a €20 tariff and get unlimited data as part of their bundle will be given a 4.2GB data allowance.

This data allowance will increase in the coming years as wholesale prices fall, with the same customer who is paying a €20 tariff getting 13GB by 2022.

This deal will be transparent. All of us, as customers, will receive an SMS when we arrive in an EU country reminding us of our data roaming allowance and the surcharges that may apply if we exceed the free allowance.

Once 80pc of the allowance is used, a further SMS will issue, and a further one again when the limit is reached. Surcharges may apply beyond that point. I can confirm that ComReg will monitor and regulate the situation closely to ensure full compliance by mobile operators here in Ireland.

EU ‘Roam Like at Home’ is a win for Irish and European consumers whether on a business trip or on holidays.

The way we use our phones is changing and with the growth of the digital sector it shows no sign of slowing down.

Ireland, like all EU Member States, will review the current policy every two years to ensure there’s no slippage in the ‘Roam Like at Home’ deal.

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