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Home / Advice & Information / Roaming / Using your mobile within the EU

Using your mobile within the EU

This page contains:

  • ‘Roam like at home’ countries

  • Using your mobile within the UK

  • What alerts can I expect to receive when roaming in the EU?

  • How much data am I likely to use?

  • Be careful to watch your data roaming

If you are travelling within 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. It doesn’t matter which mobile network you are connected to.

‘Roam like at home’ countries

AustriaGermany Norway
BelgiumGreecePoland
BulgariaHungaryPortugal
CroatiaIcelandRomania
Czech RepublicItalySlovakia
CyprusLatviaSlovenia
DenmarkLiechtensteinSpain
EstoniaLithuaniaSweden
FinlandLuxembourgThe Netherlands
France

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.

The most you can be charged when roaming in the EU if you use up your domestic bundle is:

  • 3.2 cents per minute of voice call made (plus VAT)
  • 1 cent per text message (plus VAT)
  • €2.50 per gigabyte (GB) of data (plus VAT)

Your mobile provider will confirm your roaming data allowance by text when you arrive at your EU destination.  You can also check this 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 free ‘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. 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 EU country and the EEA or, cross the border, 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 EU/ EEA (including the UK).

The roaming rules introduce additional safeguards for you when roaming in the EU and 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[1]. 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 €50 and then again when you have used €100 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.

Non-terrestrial networks

If traveling by boat on open water or during a flight, your mobile phone may connect to a non-terrestrial network (for example, a satellite network provided on board the aircraft or boat). These services are not covered by ‘roam like at home’ and may have high surcharges. As part of the roaming rules, you will be informed by text message about additional charges for using roaming services on so-called non-terrestrial networks. In order to help you avoid unexpected charges, if your mobile phone connects to a non-terrestrial network, you should receive an automatic message from your mobile network provider to alert you. Your mobile services should be interrupted automatically by your mobile network provider if you continue using your phone (or if apps using mobile data continue running on your phone) and you reach €50 of additional charges (or another predefined limit). Mobile providers may offer additional services such as the possibility to opt out from roaming on planes and boats.

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’.

[1] https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/roaming

Using your mobile within the UK

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 will be 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.

What alerts can I expect to receive when roaming in the EU?

SMS Welcome Text 1:When you arrive at your EU destinationThe 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 text message should also include: a free phone number for your mobile provider and the number for the emergency services in the country you are visiting.
SMS Spend Alert Text 2:When you have used up your data allowanceYou will automatically receive a text message 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.
SMS Spend Alert Text 3:When you have reached 80% of a €50.00 plus VAT spendIf you choose to continue roaming after using up your data roaming allowance, you will receive an alert when you have reached 80% of a €50.00 plus VAT spend. This is based on a monthly billing period.
SMS Spend Alert Text 4:When you have reached 100% of a €50.00 plus VAT spendIf you choose to continue roaming after using up your data roaming allowance, you will receive an alert when you have reached 100% of a €50.00 plus VAT spend. This is based on a monthly billing period.

How much data am I likely to use?

There are 1,000 megabytes (MB) in 1 gigabyte (GB).

Activity:Duration:Data Usage:
Browsing on Social Media1 hourAbout 90MB
Streaming TV1 hourA 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 Streaming1 hourA typical hour of live TV streaming will use around 540MB of data for SD and 1.8GB for HD content

Be careful to watch your data roaming

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.

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