Mobile phones in Ireland

With the popularity of mobile phones and smartphones on the increase, here is some information on how to choose a mobile operator, international roaming charges, cross-border roaming and more.

There are several mobile network operators to choose from.  Each is operated by a different service provider and regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) .

Considerations to be made when choosing a mobile phone service provider include:

  • Coverage  – signals may be stronger in some areas and weaker in others
  • Tariffs – charges can vary considerably
  • Payment options i.e. Pay as you go -v- Contract agreement

For guidance please visit the ComReg website www.askcomreg.ie  it includes the following useful information:

  • Choosing a mobile operator
  • Changing mobile operator
  • International Mobile Roaming
  • Coverage
  • Phone Security & Tips
  • Frequently Asked Questions

See callcosts.ie website which has a Mobile Calculator alongside a range of useful information on mobile phones.

Cross Border Roaming

Inadvertent roaming occurs when a mobile phone user unknowingly connects to a base station in Northern Ireland while in the Republic of Ireland, and vice versa.  Usually where there is either a poor signal or no coverage from the “home” network. If the phone is in automatic network selection mode, then it will seek another signal. If the signal strength from a network operator across the border is sufficient, the device will roam onto that network to make and receive calls.

When setting up a mobile phone account it is best to shop around, especially if you intend to make calls across jursdictions, cross the border or travel in the border region.  Many people attempt to keep costs down by using two SIM cards, a northern one and a southern one.

It is advisable to contact your service provider in advance of travelling to see what charges will apply if you use your phone across the border.

EU Roaming Regulation

Source: European Commission/ Information Society

In June 2007 the EU reached an agreement on a Regulation that places a price limit on the price of using your mobile while travelling within the EU.

As of 1 July 2012, the Roaming Regulation states the following:

  • The price for sending a text message while roaming in the EU is limited to a maximum of €0.09. Receiving an SMS in another EU country is free of charge.
  • For roamed calls, operators are obliged to use per second billing after the first 30 seconds for calls made and immediately for calls received.
  • Citizens should be kept adequately informed of the charges that apply for roaming services.

NEWS ITEM – 14/06/2013

Meeting in Brussels this week, 27 European commissioners voted to have the changes processed in time for the European Parliament elections in May next year, with the removal of roaming charges expected to take place as early as 1 July, 2014

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