Getting a mobile for the first time? Considering changing networks? There are some important things to do before you spend a fortune on your new smart phone and enter a long (possible 24 month) contract.
The first and most important thing to do is to get yourself a pre pay sim from the networks you’re considering so you can test their signal. Most of the Irish networks wont charge for pre pay sims (Vodafone charge 10 euro but the sim comes with 10 euro credit). What you want to see is good 3G signal (especially if you’re getting a data hungry smart phone) where you live, work and play. At least that way you can be assured service for the most part will suit you.
Sim free or Contract
Before you take up that offer of a free or cheap phone and enter a long contract with your new network consider the possibility that maybe it’s better to buy the phone out right and take out a sim only, month to month contract. Why? In many cases networks offer discounts on contracts that don’t involve you getting a subsidised phone. These discounts vary but can be as much as 10 euro off a plan per month. Remember to your sim free phone will work with any network so there’s no need to get it unlocked. You can use it abroad with a local network sim which should mean cheaper roaming costs then if you’re using your Irish sim. Another advantage is that if a different network, other than your current one, starts to offer a new plan that suits you better for whatever reason, you can move to them within 30 days.
If you start experiencing signal issues with your current there a few things you should know. You need to contact them and give them a chance to rectify the situation. If they are unable to then they will release you from contract but they have to be given the opportunity to fix your problem.
Escalating a problem to Comreg
If you’ve tried dealing with your network over an issue and it hasn’t been sorted to your satisfaction, consider complaining to Comreg the Irish Communications Regulator:
As with the other issues listed above you need to have tried to get the network to solve your issue first before making a formal complaint to comreg.
Under EU roaming laws you can only be charged a maximum price for calls and SMS while roaming within EU countries. The prices are listed on this link:
Your network can also only charge you at most 50 euro (excl VAT) for data per month while roaming in the EU unless the user has chosen another limit – higher or lower. “Operators have to send users a warning when they reach 80% of their data-roaming bill limit. The operator has to cut off the mobile internet connection once the limit has been reached, unless the customer has indicated they want to continue data roaming that particular month.”
Remember the rules above only apply to EU countries and not countries outside of the EU.