Cautionary Note about roaming call charges


Cellular phone call charges, particularly those applying to subscribers roaming outside their home network, can be a minefield of rip-offs. The European Union has been negligent in this regard by allowing a situation to develop where there is neither real competition nor price regulation, to protect the interest of the roaming subscriber.

While availability of carrier selection is mandatory on fixed line networks across the EU, there is no similar requirement on GSM networks. Neither the European Commission nor the state regulatory authorities have done anything substantive to protect roaming subscribers from tariff abuses. It costs a lot less to put up a mobile phone network than a fixed line network with the same level of subscriber coverage. There is no shortage of bidders when new cellular licenses are offered, because of the popularity and convenience of cellular services with end users. There is absolutely no justification for the tariff levels imposed on cellular traffic in most EU states today. And there is absolutely no justification for non-availability of standard GSM network services across the EU - eg Eircell and Digifone's ban on call diversions to other EU states.

Any call charges shown herein are indicative only and subject to variation. Check the up to date tariff position with your own home network. A link to their web site (can be found here) . Many foreign networks apply a roaming surcharge of 5 to 10% on Irish networks call charges. Other than BT Cellnet, UK networks add a 30% surcharge. Digifone has per second billing for calls made by roamers in Ireland. Eircell has a 1 minute minimum charge.

The delay in licensing the third Irish GSM network has led to a situation unique in Europe where there is no cheaper network to roam on. Both networks have approximately similar charges. While international call charges from fixed line phones have fallen dramatically in Ireland over the past few years, there has been no similar reduction in call charges from the Irish cellular networks. The artificially high level of international call charges hits both visitors roaming in Ireland calling "back home" and subscribers of Digifone and Eircell receiving calls while roaming in other parts of Europe or overseas.