What are phone-paid/premium rate services?

Premium rate services (“PRS”) are goods and services that you can buy by using your landline, mobile phone, the Internet, interactive digital TV or fax . ComReg is the independent regulator of phone-paid services in Ireland and is responsible for regulating the content and promotion of PRS which cost in excess of 25 cent per call/text.

The range of PRS has grown considerably in recent years, allowing access to information, advice and entertainment services as well as facilitating audience participation in TV and radio shows.

Examples of PRS include:

  • TV voting (e.g. Dancing with the Stars, The X Factor)
  • Quizzes and competitions (e.g. The Late Late Show, radio competitions)
  • Charity donations
  • Digital content (e.g. music, videos, wallpapers, games)
  • Psychic or other entertainment services
  • Business information (e.g. some technical support lines)

Calls and texts to PRS typically cost more than ordinary telephone calls/texts depending on the prefix number or shortcode. Check the cost of calling or texting PRS from your phone with your own phone company (landline, mobile or cable) as they may charge an additional amount to the advertised rate.

How do you recognise premium rate services?

Premium rate voice services have a 15 prefix (e.g. 1515 or 1530) and premium rate text services are five digit short codes beginning with the number 5 (e.g. 57XXX). Calls and texts to PRS typically cost more than ordinary telephone calls/texts depending on the prefix number or shortcode. Check the cost of calling or texting PRS from your phone with your own phone company (landline, mobile or cable) as they may charge an additional amount to the advertised rate.

What are SMS/text short codes?

 SMS/text short codes are usually five-digit numbers beginning with 5 i.e. 5XXXX.

Please be aware that before you sign up to an SMS/text service, you should check that your handset is able to receive the service (not all handsets can receive all services offered e.g. video).

It is also important to check whether you’re signing up for a one-off service (where you’re billed once) or whether you’re signing up for a subscription service (where you’re billed on a regular basis).

Phone-paid/premium rate SMS/text short codes are allocated to service providers in accordance with a Code of Practice, administered by ComReg.

As part of this Code of Practice, companies providing subscription services must make it clear to you that you’re signing up for a subscription service and must supply you with the following details:

  • how many texts you will receive as part of the service
  • how much each text received will cost, and
  • how you can stop the subscription

What are the charges for premium rate services?

Charges for premium rate services vary depending on what service you are using.
Some services are much more expensive than others so you need to know the cost of any call or text which you might make. You should check the cost of calling/texting a premium rate number from your phone with your own phone company (landline, mobile or cable) as they may charge an additional amount to the advertised rate.

Texts

Sending or receiving a text from a premium rate service (for example, to enter a competition or cast a vote) may cost more than the cost of a normal text message. The costs vary depending on the prefix of the five-digit short code number and below is the set of charges which you can expect to be charged when you text certain premium rate text services:

50XXX – Free (these numbers are not regulated by ComReg as they are free services)

51XXX – Not exceeding €0.16 (these numbers are not regulated by ComReg as they are less than the regulated threshold*)

53XXX – Not exceeding €0.80

57XXX – €0.80 or above

58XXX – Variable price

59XXX – Variable price

*Note ComReg regulates premium rate services that cost more than 25 cent per call/text. Charges for texts from the 51XXX range listed above do not exceed the 25 cent threshold. If you wish to find out who provided a service to you from a  51XXX short code, please click here for further information on the provider.

Phone calls

Calls to premium rate services cost more than ordinary telephone calls. Below is the set of charges you can expect to incur when you call certain premium rate services:

1512 numbers Not exceeding €0.50 per call
1513 numbers Not exceeding €0.70 per call
1514 numbers Not exceeding €0.90 per call
1515 numbers Not exceeding €1.20 per call
1516 numbers Not exceeding €1.80 per call
1517 numbers Not exceeding €2.50 per call
1518 numbers Not exceeding €3.50 per call
1520 numbers Not exceeding €0.30 per minute
1530 numbers Not exceeding €0.50 per minute
1540 numbers Not exceeding €0.70 per minute
1550 numbers Not exceeding €1.20 per minute
1560 numbers Not exceeding €1.80 per minute
1570 numbers Not exceeding €2.40 per minute
1580 numbers Not exceeding €2.95 per minute
1590 numbers Not exceeding €3.50 per minute

Note Some services are charged per call and some per minute. Network charges may vary, check the cost of calling/texting a premium rate number from your phone with your own phone company (landline, mobile or cable).