ComReg to investigate Meteor and Three over changes to price plans

The two networks announced their intention to alter their offering

Last week, we told you about the upcoming changes to Three's offering on both bill-pay and Pay As You Go. It appears that Minister for Communications Denis Naughten is none too pleased with the changes. 

Minister Naughten has said that Three Ireland and Meteor, would be investigated by ComReg according to a report in The Times today, as both networks have reduced customers' EU roaming data allocation. 

The European Parliament voted to abolish roaming charges across the EU last month. This change will come into effect on June 15th. While this should be good news for consumers in the EU, mobile networks are thought to be recouping the costs they stand to lose from the roaming changes in other ways.  

Both Meteor and Three have announced plans to change their tariffs before the "Roam Like At Home" legislation comes into effect. 

Under the new changes, consumers will be able to use their calls and texts allocation, without facing any fees, but data will have an allowance subject to a fair usage policy. Information published on the Digital Single Market website lays out what "Roam Like At Home" entails. 

"The implementing rules on fair use policy make sure that all European travellers will enjoy the "Roam like at Home" opportunity by paying the same price for mobile calls, SMS or data when they travel away from their "home". The measure further clarifies consumer rights and introduces safeguards to ensure that the most competitive domestic offers remain attractive."

In short, you should be able to use your phone as you would whilst travelling in the EU for the most part. 

To get around this, Meteor and Three have increased the cost of using their phones at home.  

Rip off

Fianna Fáil's communication's spokesperson, Timmy Dooley, has said that the changes to the EU law will now mean Irish consumers will be "ripped off at home and abroad".

“It’s clear that Meteor, in addition to others, appears to have decided to maintain their average revenue per user. Whilst they are entitled to do it, it flies in the face of what the original agreement was about,” Mr. Dooley said. “It would now appear that everybody on Meteor will be ripped off whether at home or abroad where once they were only ripped off overseas.”

Mr. Dooley stated that the companies should appear before the Oireachtas communications committee.

Speaking to The Times, a spokesman for Minister Naughten said that he was concerned that the price changes “could be in breach of the spirit of the EU agreement”. 

“In this regard, the minister can confirm that ComReg will have a role in scrutinising all existing and new mobile market offerings to ensure full legal and regulatory compliance.” 

Meteor

Changes to a number of Meteor price plans will be introduced from June 8th. The network followed Three by reducing its credit period to 28 days from 30. Customers on the "Simplicity" plan will face a 9c 'connection fee' that does not fall under a usage plan. 

A spokesperson for Meteor said that the changes were made “to ensure we can continue to offer the most competitive pre-pay promotions to our customers”.