Local Irish speakers have been left frustrated and angered having learned that texting ‘as Gaeilge’ will cost them triple the amount as in English, with a fada using extra data.
In recent weeks it has been revealed that texters using the national language are charged for three text messages if they included a single ‘sineadh fada’ in a text of 160 characters.
When phone users use symbols from Irish or another language such as Mandarin, a greater data cost is generated. A text less than 70 characters with fadas is only charged as one text, but a ‘standard length’ text of 160 characters with a single fada creates additional costs.
Thomas McGrane, from Lennonstown Green, told the Dundalk Democrat ‘It’s a nuisance. I’m aware of the problem all right. I sometimes include the fadas and sometimes leave them out. Some of my friends who text me in Irish use them and some don’t. I would like to use them all the time but am aware of the cost issue so don’t always do so, especially if it’s a longer message’.
Thomas also explained another issue with texting in Irish via webtext. ‘I’m on the Meteor network and also use their webtext service. It allows you to enter letters with fadas when typing the message. But when the message is received on the phone you’re sending it to, those letters are changed to an unrecognisable symbol. So you have to be careful not to include any fadas in your webtext message. This is probably even more annoying, as I always include fadas when sending e-mails or using Facebook or Twitter’.
‘I think it’s probably something that should be sorted at EU level, as it affects several European languages. The EU have already been active in reducing roaming charges’, Thomas added.
Meanwhile Knockbridge teenager Dáire Mac An Fhailí also expressed his anger.
‘I agree that its an unfair discrimination to make texts more expensive if texters include fadas’ said Dáire, ‘Although I also think for many people it isn’t an issue, because if you’re on a free texts plan of any kind then you’re not charged from your credit for the use of fadas’.
Both Vodafone and O2 said they comply with the standards set by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.
Although in Turkey, both mobile phone device producers and operators must allow the devices to use Turkish characters without any extra cost being incurred. Spain and Portugal also have followed similar avenues.