If you are travelling within any EEA country (which is any EU country plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) you can use your mobile phone to ‘roam like at home’. This means that you can make and receive calls, and send and receive text messages in the same way you do when at home in the Republic of Ireland.
You can also use some or all of your data allowance while roaming in the countries listed above. In some cases, depending on the type of contract you have, mobile providers will allow you to use your full data allowance while roaming. Your domestic bundle is the normal phone service package that is included in your phone contract when you are at home.
Mobile providers decide these limits based on your domestic bundle and the type of contract (bill pay or prepay) and data allowance it includes.
Once you have exceeded your fair use limit (as determined by your contract) your mobile provider may impose surcharges in addition to your at-home rates. Those surcharges cannot exceed:
Your mobile provider will provide basic price information through an alert when you arrive at your EU destination. You can also check your data roaming allowance before you travel by contacting your mobile provider.
When you travel, you can test the quality of your network with netBravo, a tool developed by the European Commission. You can download the app on Apple or Android.
From 1 July 2022, mobile phone users across the EU benefit from ‘roam like at home’ roaming for another ten years (2022-2032). The regulation provides for additional benefits for an improved roaming experience including:
Quality of service at home and abroad
As part of the roaming rules, the ‘roam like at home’ principle (that you should be able to use mobile service in the same way as at home) extends to the quality of mobile service, for example, speed or access to use 4G, or the more advanced 5G, networks. You should have a similar roaming experience as at home with regard to quality of service, for example, a roaming customer who can use 5G services at home should also have 5G roaming services when this is available. In some cases, it is not possible to offer the same quality because the network might not be as good as the one you use at home. However, your mobile provider should do its best to offer the same quality of mobile service abroad as at home when this is technically possible. Your mobile provider should inform you on how the roaming service can differ from the service you use at home. This information should be available in your contract and made publicly available (for example, on your mobile provider’s website).
Information and choices
Whenever you arrive in any EEA country (which is any EU country plus Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) and your phone connects to a network in those countries, an automatic message will be sent to your phone by your mobile provider containing basic information about roaming. This will include charges and any fair use data limit that the mobile provider may apply as well as how to access the 112 emergency number free of charge.
Roaming related notifications should be sent by your mobile provider even when travelling outside the EEA.
The roaming rules introduce additional safeguards for you when roaming in the EEA to help increase transparency so that you are better informed and have ability to exercise informed choice.
Increased transparency Value Added Services
As part of the roaming rules, you are informed about the types of services that can bring additional costs, such as calling customer service numbers, helpdesks or insurance companies. These potentially value-added services can be free of charge or cost less when phoning from home, but when roaming, additional charges may apply.
You should be able to make an informed decision about calling value-added services that may cost extra. Mobile providers must inform you about the type of phone numbers that may be subject to additional charges when phoning them from abroad. This information on value-added service phone numbers should be in your contract. You can also find similar information in the SMS you receive when crossing the border to another EU country and the EEA.
Alerts and avoiding additional charges
If you have unlimited or very low-cost data services, and your mobile provider has applied a fair use limit (for example, a data volume or financial limit), your mobile provider should notify you before you reach the limit. The mobile provider should also inform you when you have used €61.50 (including VAT) and then again when you have used €123.00 (including VAT) in a monthly billing period. The notification must indicate the procedure you should follow if you wish to continue using roaming services. You may opt out and back into this so-called cut-off limit mechanism by notifying your mobile provider.
Contacting emergency services abroad
By June 2023, if traveling abroad, you should automatically receive a message to remind you of the 112 facility and information about the available alternative means of reaching emergency services, such as through real time text or apps. You may use these alternative means of access to emergency services if you are not able to make a voice call to ‘112’.
As the UK has left the EU, Irish consumers are not entitled to the EU ‘roam like at home’ rates when travelling to the UK, under EU law. Despite this, we understand that in many cases there has been no immediate change for consumers.
We advise you to contact your mobile provider to check (and confirm) the up-to-date prices and what mobile allowances apply when travelling in the UK.
We have a page on our website on Brexit with further information.
|Welcome Notification 1:||When you arrive at your EU destination||The welcome message from your mobile provider should set out the costs that will apply while you are roaming including any extra charges for using your phone outside your normal at-home plan allowances. It will also specify the amount of data you can use without paying anything extra. This notification should also include: a free phone number for your mobile provider and the number for the emergency services in the country you are visiting.|
|Spend Alert, Notification 2:||When you have used up your data allowance||You will automatically receive a notification telling you how much more you will have to pay if you continue to use data services. You will then be asked to confirm if you wish to continue data roaming.|
|Spend Alert, Notification 3:||When you have reached 80% of your data roaming limit, pre-set at €61.50 (including VAT)||If you choose to continue roaming after using up your data roaming allowance, you will receive an alert when you have reached 80% of your data roaming limit, which is pre-set at €61.50 (including VAT) spend. This is based on a monthly billing period.|
|Spend Alert, Notification 4:||When you have spent 100% of your data roaming limit, pre-set at €61.50 (including VAT)||If you choose to continue roaming after using up your data roaming allowance, you will receive an alert when you have reached 100% of your data roaming limit, which is pre-set at €61.50 (including VAT). This is based on a monthly billing period. Your mobile provider will stop your data use at this data roaming spending limit unless you opt to continue paying for data, usually by sending a text message as indicated in the alert.|
|Spend Alert, Notification 5||When you have spent more than €123.00 (including VAT) in a monthly billing period||If you choose to continue roaming after reaching your data roaming spending limit, you will receive another alert when you have reached €123.00 (including VAT). This is based on a monthly billing period.|
There are approximately 1,000 megabytes (MB) in 1 gigabyte (GB).
|Browsing on Social Media||1 hour||About 90MB|
|Streaming TV||1 hour||A typical Standard Definition (SD) streaming
television service can use up to 700MB. High definition (HD) uses up to 3GB and Ultra HD uses up to 7GB
|Live Streaming||1 hour||A typical hour of live TV streaming will use around 540MB of data for SD and 1.8GB for HD content|
Be warned, if you do continue to use data services, the mobile provider does not have to send you any more alerts about how much you are spending.
Please remember to take the necessary precautions to limit or control your roaming data usage.