Three recently announced that they were changing their price plans including the €20 top up deal. As part of the changes Three added 2GB data to be used in Ireland or the EU and kept the unlimited data in Ireland as a ‘bonus’. The idea being that this would mean the unlimited ‘all you can eat’ data would be excluded from the EU roaming regulation. Understandably Three got a lot of bad press regarding this.
It appears they have had a change of heart as Three announced on the 19th May that the limit for data roaming in EU has been increased to 5GB and the cost of additional MB of EU data has been slashed from €1.01 to €0.0092. Obviously both of these changes are very good for the customer and in line with the EU regulations that come into effect on the 15th June. However, Three have played this very badly in my view. They basically tried to ignore EU regulations and finally realised they are wrong. Now they are marketing these changes as if they are because Three care about their customers – when in reality its just bringing Three into line with the EU regulations.
Although it appears Lyca are still trying to pull the data is not a core service line and is not offering free data roaming within the EU.
I’ve been a Three Prepay customer for years now and have been very happy with them. Topping up €20 per month gives me
- Unlimited calls to Three numbers
- Unlimited texts to any Irish number
- Unlimited weekend calls to any Irish Number
- Unlimited Data
- €20 to spend on other calls/texts.
I rarely make calls or send texts so it was the unlimited data which attracted me. What made this plan even better was Three Like Home which is available in UK, Italy, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Hong Kong. When roaming in these countries Three treated you as if you were at home. Your free calls and text still worked and you got 2GB free data roaming as well. I’ve used it in the UK and Hong Kong frequently and it was brilliant.
Three have announced today that this offer will change as of the 3rd April. Topping up by €20 will give you 28 days of
- Unlimited Data in Ireland
- 2GB Data in Ireland/EU
- Unlimited text to any Irish number sent from within the EU
- Unlimited calls to Three number when in Ireland
- €20 to spend on other call/texts.
The main differences are:
- Previously the benefits lasted for 30 days, now it is 28.
- The unlimited weekend calls to any network are gone.
- The unlimited calls to Three numbers now only occur in Ireland and not the ‘Three Like Home’
- The Three like Home has been completely removed and replaced by the EU roaming.
- Calls cost 38c per minute when made within Ireland/the EU.
The EU have brought in regulations to remove roaming charges within the EU by June 15th. This restructuring of the price plans by Three is to get around these regulations. The core dat part of the Three plan is 2GB free data which will be honoured throughout the EU. However, the unlimited data in Ireland is a service benefit as well as the free three to three calls. As such, it does not fall under the free roaming regulations and can apply just in Ireland.
I’m a bit on the fence about the whole thing. Obviously I would love to see roaming charges removed throughout the EU but I worry this will result in prices going up or packages getting less inclusive in Ireland. I’m not sure what the wholesale rate for data is in the EU but I’m doubt it would be sustainable for Three to offer unlimited data in any EU country for just €20 per month. If ComReg see the unlimited data in Ireland as a core part and not a service benefit, I can see the unlimited data being scrapped completely including in Ireland.