After many years of planning, roaming charges across the European Union are being abolished from June 15th, meaning it will cost the same to download data or make calls or send text messages from Dublin to Dundalk as from Dublin to Malta.
But some operators are trying to work out ways they can get around the new EU laws and maximise their returns from Irish consumers who use their phones overseas.
98FM has been talking to the Irish Times Consumer Affairs Correspondent Conor Pope, who says we need to look out for the following if we don't want to continue to pay high costs.
Data is where all the money is right now. One of the ways operators can charge us more is by using a tiered system for data charges. They could offer you get unlimited data or huge volumes of data at home, but once you travel overseas you will have the data usage capped. Once you go over that cap you would start to be hit by higher charges.
Changes to Terms and Conditions of your contract:
Terms and conditions are incredibly long and detailed, there are 16 or 17 pages of them. What companies might try and do in the weeks ahead is to modify terms and conditions to facilitate charging us more to download data abroad, and that's what people need to be careful of. People also need to be mindful of the fact that if a mobile phone operator significantly changes the terms and conditions of a contract then the consumer can walk away from that contract with absolutely no penalty.
If a big operator changes the ts and cs and you are only 2 or 3 months into an 18 month contract, you then have the right to break that contract and leave it and go to a provider who offers you better value for money.
E-mails from your phone provider:
People need to be conscious of the e-mails they get from their operator in the days and weeks ahead.
People have a habit of just ignoring that kind of correspondence, but it could contain revisions to your plan.
The European Commission has asked ComReg, the mobile phone regulator in Ireland, to police the changes and make sure that mobile phone companies don't attempt to introduce roaming charges by the back door. ComReg has told Conor Pope they are not really going to be policing this until after June 15th. They are going to see what the operators do once the roaming charges have been abolished.