As of June 15th, roaming charges will be abolished meaning hefty phone bills at the end of a holiday will be no more. What does this mean for you and will you really be able to use your phone like you do a home?
The aim for the upcoming changes is to allow customers to ‘roam like home’ and make hefty phone bills a thing of the past.
While this is good news for the most part, there is a small little catch for those with unlimited data. You will be able to make calls and sends texts as you would, but there is a ‘fair use policy’ in place that means users will not have unlimited data when out of their home country.
According to the European Commission, your mobile network must inform you of any limits on your data package and must alert you if and when you reach that limit.
It says that the safeguard limit will be high enough to cover ‘most, if not all, of your roaming needs’. This means if you’re not a heavy data user or will be in a Wifi zone, you should be fine.
As it stands, no operator offering a €20 per month contract has to offer more than 5.2GB of data to customers travelling within the EU.
Going over this will incur a charge.
“Beyond this threshold, you can continue data roaming, subject to a small charge (maximum €7.70/GB + VAT; this will decline gradually to reach €2.50/GB as of 2022)”, explains the Commission.
The key point here is to find out what your mobile plan entitles you to in terms of roaming and stick to it.
If you are travelling outside of the EU, the new rules have no sway. Each mobile provider will have an offering to ensure you remain connected, but it can become very pricey.
If travelling to the US or Australia for more than a week, it is definitely worth buying a local SIM. For a local SIM to work on your phone, you must ask your Irish mobile provider to unlock your phone.
I was in Sydney back in February and bought an Australian Vodafone SIM card for $20. This gave me 9GB of data, with an infinite amount of calls and texts. That was more than I needed for Google Maps, WhatsApp and then Skype for calling home.
There are deals to be had, but you will find the best value for Australia and the US by buying a local SIM.