Ireland’s Government stepped into a row between the EU and Irish mobile operators on proposals to offer caps on data roaming after new regulations are enforced on 15 June.
The Irish Independent reported Ireland’s minister for communications Denis Naughten warned the country’s operators not to try and reclassify data allowances to avoid adhering to new EU regulations. During a parliamentary debate, he also urged the country’s regulator ComReg to ensure telcos are fully compliant.
Naughten’s comments come after 3 Ireland announced it intended to introduce a specific roaming data allowance of as little as 1GB on some plans, which are currently advertised as “all you can eat” data domestically. The operator cited costs charged to it by European operators as the reason for its policy.
After 3’s announcement, and several articles in the Irish media speculating other operators were also looking at tariff changes, the European Commission issued a statement clarifying only “exceptional limits” could be imposed on roaming data usage in the case of “unlimited or very competitive offers”.
The EC also warned against introducing selective roaming through any loopholes where domestic data is given as a gift or side benefit to customers. This, it said, “would appear like a clear case of circumvention, for which there is no basis in the Roaming Regulation.”
Its statement added: “The National Regulatory Authorities will have a major role in ensuring that the rules of the roaming regulation and the Implementing Regulation are not being circumvented. This also clearly means obligations to monitor for the Irish regulator.”