Regulation of postal services, phone, internet, radio and TV
Many companies in Ireland offer mobile, internet and TV services or bundles that allow you to mix and match a package to suit your needs. While it is good to have a wide choice of products and services, it can be difficult to know what is right for you. You may also be unsure about your rights and who to turn to if you have problems with a service provider.
The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) is a statutory body that regulates the communications sector in Ireland.
What does ComReg do?
As regulator of the communications sector, ComReg oversees:
- Electronic communications
- Radio communications
- Broadcasting transmissions
- The Postal sector
ComReg’s main responsibilities are to:
- Protect and promote consumers interests
- Promote competition
- Encourage innovation
- Make sure service providers comply with their obligations
- Contribute to the development of the European Union (EU) internal market
- Ensure the radio frequency spectrum is used and managed efficiently
- Ensure the national numbering scheme is properly managed and place conditions on the right to use numbers. The national numbering scheme sets outs the type and range of numbers available for service providers to give to customers)
- Promote the development of the postal sector and the availability of a universal service
How does ComReg protect consumers?
ComReg has the following functions to protect consumers:
- Providing information to the public
- Complaints handling and investigation
- Making sure a basic standard of communications services is available to the public
Providing information to the public
One of the main ways ComReg protects consumers is by providing information to the public about the communications sector. This helps you when choosing a service provider and when using communications and postal services.
ComReg provides information on the following topics:
- Home phone contracts, billing and disputed charges and switching providers
- Roaming within and outside EU and EEA
- Mobile phone contracts, roaming, service issues, unsolicited contact, switching provider, premium rate services and scam calls
- Internet and broadband contracts, broadband speeds, switching broadband provider and broadband service issues
- Postal FAQs, postal authorisation, regulation of An Post and market research
You can find out more on ComReg’s consumer information section.
Complaint handling and investigation
ComReg is responsible for making sure you are treated fairly and get the service that you pay for and is stated in your contract. A dedicated Consumer Care Team can help you with queries about service or contract issues. They can also help you resolve a dispute with a service provider, if needed.
Electronic Communication Services (ECS) providers must have a code of practice in place for handling complaints. ComReg issued a new Code of Practice in 2017. Under the code, the service provider:
- Must make it easy for you to make a complaint
- Cannot transfer you to another section of the business if the call will cost more than the cost of a call to a landline number or mobile number
- Must acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days - this acknowledgement must include details of the link to the code of practice and a unique reference number to allow you track your complaint
- Must respond to and seek to resolve your complaint within 10 working days. If it is not possible to resolve your complaint within this timeframe , then you must be informed about the escalation process
- Record and track your complaint
Read more about how to complain about phone, internet and TV.
Making sure a basic standard of communications services is available to the public
You are entitled to affordable quality basic communications, including connection for a phone line and internet access at a fixed location. Under the Universal Service Directive, there should be at least one telecoms provider who can provide this service for you. This is known as the principle of Universal Service. The Directive was brought into Irish legislation by the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Universal Service and Users' Rights) Regulations 2011.
The universal service provider is Eir (formerly known as Telecom Éireann).
You can find out more about the Universal Service Obligation on comreg.ie.
How does ComReg regulate the communications sector?
ComReg regulates the communications sector through:
- Registration and licensing
- Monitoring compliance and taking enforcement action
Registration and licensing
ComReg is responsible for making sure telecommunication and postal service providers have the proper authorisation, licensing and registration needed to provide services in Ireland. It is responsible for:
- Radio spectrum licensing – The use of wireless telecommunications equipment in Ireland, with the exception of Ships Radio Licensing, must be authorised by ComReg. There are specific rules and regulations around ownership and use of radio equipment. The use of unlicensed or non-compliant radio equipment is illegal. You can find out more about radio spectrum licensing.
- Premium rate services (PRS) licensing – Premium rate telephone services in Ireland are regulated by ComReg. A licence is needed to operate a revenue generating PRS. These premium rate services, sometimes referred to as information services, can be recognised by their unique range of prefixes, for example 15xx.
Monitoring compliance and taking enforcement action
As the regulator for the electronic communications sector, ComReg has a role to:
- Ensure compliance with obligations through enforcement
- Investigate complaints received from the wider industry and consumers through its Compliance Team
- Prevent fraud and misuse of Irish numbers to protect both end-users and operators
- Ensure network incidents (breach of security or loss of integrity that has a significant impact on the operation of networks and services) are properly managed by network operators. ComReg must be notified when these incidents occur.
You can find out more about regulation of the electronic communications sector.
ComReg is also responsible for regulating the postal service. This includes making sure that:
- Prices are affordable, that they properly reflect the service provided, and are transparent and non-discriminatory
- The postal services meets set quality standards
- A basic level of service is provided. This includes:
- At least 1 collection and 1 delivery on every working day of letters, packets and parcels up to 10kg in weight
- A registered items service
- An insured items service
- Postal services free of charge for blind and partially sighted persons
How to make a complaint
If things do go wrong, you should check the service provider’s Code of Practice for complaint handling. This should be available on the service provider’s website, but if you cannot find it you are entitled to request a copy. You should then contact the service provider outlining what the issue is and how you would like it to be corrected.
If the problem is not resolved, or is not completely resolved to your satisfaction, you can contact ComReg’s Consumer Care team for more advice. Find out more about how to complain about phone, internet and TV.