Virgin Media Ireland unveiled its plans for the new EU roaming regulations at a recent media briefing. The company confirmed that EU roaming will be included in all its plans at no extra cost to mobile subscribers. All existing mobile customers will be contacted by text to advise them of the planned changes within the next few days.
The company advised that Virgin Mobile Unlimited plan subscribers will get unlimited calls, text and a 5.5 GB data allowance for €25 when travelling in the EU. Over 90 percent of its 28,000 mobile customers are on the Virgin Mobile Unlimited plan. Changes will also be made to the €15 1 GB plan.
Paul Higgins, Head of Mobile said, “Since the launch of Virgin Mobile in 2015, our mission has been to shake up the industry by offering simple, value for money contracts to customers – and that’s what we’ve done with great value unlimited propositions and fantastic value smart phones. EU roaming is just another inclusion in already great propositions. It’s simple and straightforward with nothing hidden. Our customers will be able to enjoy the same great value abroad as they do at home.”
The plans will be available to customers from 1 June 2017. The 5.5 GB data allowance is more than twice the amount of data used per month on average by Virgin Mobile customers.
Under the new roaming regulations, consumers will be able to ‘roam like home’ and use their mobile at the same price as home when travelling in the EU subject to operators’ fair usage policies.
— Eimear Dodd (@dodd_ec) May 24, 2017
The EU first announced its intention to reduce the cost to consumers of using their mobile while abroad in 2007. Part of this process has involved changes to the wholesale market used by mobile operators. The regulations that abolished roaming charges within the EU were agreed in October 2015. Following a transition period, the changes come into force from 15 June 2017.
Virgin Media launched its mobile proposition in October 2015. However, it has attracted a relatively small share of the Irish mobile market in the last two years. Vodafone is the largest provider in the market, followed by Three and Eir Group Mobile which includes Meteor.
Comreg, the communications regulator, estimates that there were over 4.9 million mobile subscriptions in Ireland at the end of December 2016. Their Quarterly Key Data Report as of quarter four 2016 also identified a mobile penetration rate of over 105 percent of the market, suggesting that the majority of the Irish population has adopted mobile phone technologies.
Mr Higgins said the company is satisfied with the growth of their mobile operations to date. “We’re comfortable we’re doing the right thing by the customer. And we expect the numbers to grow.” he said.
The company expects consumers will switch their mobile provider as they identify alternative offers on the market. In 2016, over 300,000 people ported their existing mobile number to a new provider according to ComReg’s figures.
Virgin Media also provides broadband network and digital TV. The company also own the TV3 commercial broadcasting group and its three free-to-air channels: TV3, 3e and Be3. Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company which has operations in more than 30 countries across Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.