Irish complain regulation puts "citizens on the periphery of Europe at a disadvantage"
The European Commission has revealed that the abolition of mobile roaming fees will only apply for periods under consecutive 30 days.
Furthermore, free roaming can only be enjoyed for a total of 90 days in any one year.
The newly-published 'fair use' clarification from Brussels states that operators will be permitted to charge top-up fees of 4c per minute, 1c per SMS and 0.85c per megabyte of data in some circumstances.
Customers suspected of abusing the 'roam-like-at-home' benefits must be notified, however, before being hit with a surcharge.
While the commission has argued that the restrictions are in place to stop people abusing the new rules by going for the cheapest mobile deal in another European country, consumer groups have criticised the EU for buckling under pressure from telecom giants.
Johannes Kleis, a spokesperson for the BEUC consumer advocacy group, told Politico:
“The commission is setting the bar too low... and does not amount to end roaming in the EU.”
Customers who live in one country and work across a border will not be subject to the 30 consecutive-day limit nor the 90-day total as long as they use their home network once a day.
This would seem to unfairly punish Irish mobile users and anyone living on an island.
As Irish complainant Peter O'Kane said in his written objection:
"This regulation puts citizens on the periphery of Europe at a disadvantage.
"The requirement to register on the home network every 30 days is discriminatory. For users from Ireland a flight or boat trip would be required.
"A common case is that of a family who reside in one member state but have members of the family visit extended family in another member state during summer school holidays.
"This can easily be for a period exceeding 30 days but is clearly less than 90 days and does not represent a change of residence."
Roaming fees fell 75% earlier this year across the EU. The full ban is supposed to kick in from June next year.