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Roaming costs outside the EU have doubled

Ireland's mobile operators have doubled the cost of roaming outside the EU, new figures from the telecoms regulator reveal.

It now costs an average of €1.34 per minute to make a call in the US and other non-EU countries, compared to just 66 cents a year ago.

It also costs 77 cents per minute to receive a call, double the rate at the same time last year. The price hikes come as mobile operators try to recoup money from services having been forced into lowering EU roaming rates for calls, texts and data.

The watchdog also reported that Irish operators' bill customers here pay 11pc more than the value of their "actual calls".

This is because operators' charge for a minimum of 30 seconds, even if the call is only a few seconds long.

"Data received from Irish operators indicates that a substantial number of calls made with their networks are less than 30 seconds which, compared to the EU average, results in a higher disparity between the prices that one would pay for actual calls compared to their billed calls," the regulator said.

Meanwhile, Irish operators currently charge twice the EU roaming average for mobile internet access at 8 cents per megabyte compared to an average of 4 cents per megabyte across the EU. And the cost of mobile internet remains sky high for Irish phone users roaming outside the EU.

Meteor, which has one million Irish customers, charges €10.24 per megabyte when roaming in the US. That results in a €20 charge to visit an average web page or a €150 bill to watch a two-minute YouTube video. However, the cost of accessing data services for Irish smartphone owners has fallen substantially in the last two years.