Meteor and Three Won’t “Roam Like Home” in the EU but I’m ok with that

As reported in the Independent, it seems that Meteor and Three have found a loophole in EU legislation to get rid of mobile roaming charges. Of the Irish telecoms companies, only Vodafone “is publicly saying that it will let customers use every bit of data abroad that they’re entitled to at home”.

Concerned, I contacted @Meteor_Mobile on Twitter and received a response within minutes. If you have a Meteor bill pay plan you’ll get “up to 5GB of roaming data”. Pay as you go customers must still buy a roaming add-on. The new limits will be introduced early in the summer so the roaming page will be updated then I expect.

It’s disappointing for PAYG customers, but as a PAYG customer I’m willing to stay with Meteor because their monthly cost is relatively low. I rarely make phone calls or send SMS texts and I make heavy use of their 7.5GB data offer for €10 a month. It wouldn’t be worth my while upgrading to a bill pay plan. I’d need to spend €20/month €25/month to get that amount of data or more and the call minutes and texts would go to waste. 1GB of roaming data is €14.99 for PAYG customers, or I have the option of buying a sim locally for even better value.

Moving to Vodafone isn’t really an option either. The closest offer is still twice as expensive, as I wouldn’t use the €10 credit left in the account each month.

If I was travelling around the EU every month I’d certainly upgrade to a bill pay plan but the monthly cost of a PAYG data plan is a no-brainer. It’s better value for my usage.

Edit: a few hours after I posted this the European Commission warned Irish mobile operators that there wasn’t any loophole.
I couldn’t find any mention of PAYG customers specifically but this BT PDF makes no distinction between bill pay and PAYG customers. (One wonders what will happen there when BREXIT happens.)

This means BT One Phone customer’s will begin to see their UK allowance(s) decremented when they are Roaming inside the EU. If a customer has used up all their UK allowance they will begin to be charged their normal UK PAYG/Out of bundle or Overage rate while roaming inside the European Union.

Roaming in America

One of the problems with traveling is the cost of calling home. I enabled roaming on Meteor, but it’s a bit pricey at €1.39/minute or €0.32/sms. I checked roam4free as well but that appears to be more expensive yet at €2.50/min.

Enter Skype where I can buy credits and call an Irish landline for €0.02/min or Irish mobile phone for €0.184. It’s great as everywhere in San Francisco I’ve traveled to has WiFi access. This morning I roamed about the house with my laptop in hand, headset on and spoke to my wife Jacinta for over 18 minutes and it cost me less than €4. That’s pretty cool and it was great to hear her and baby Adam.

It’s not quite the same sort of roaming but WiFi is fairly ubiquitous in the United States, so Skype on my laptop is painless, and very cheap.

Later … Out of curiosity I checked how much it costs to ring a mobile phone from an Irish landline. I use UTV’s service and Skype is cheaper at all times except for the weekend. Crazy stuff!