New rules which take effect today mean most Irish mobile phone users can now use their domestic call and text allowances while roaming in the European Union for no extra charge.

However, consumers are being warned that the data allowance available for roaming in the EU varies considerably from package to package.

In some cases the allowance may be considerably less than what they enjoy in Ireland.

The European Commission says the system will enable consumers to "roam like at home", although that's not exactly the case.

A fair usage policy means operators can limit the volume of certain customers’ domestic data allowance that can be used when roaming in the EU, and impose hefty surcharges if it is breached.

Those caps will particularly hit those with very cheap or unlimited mobile data plans.

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Consumers are being advised to check what their allowance is before using data in Europe.

After some attempts to skirt around the rules, all operators in Ireland now say they will now abide by the rules, while Comreg says it will police their implementation.

In a statement, Minister for Communications Denis Naughten welcomed the new rules and described it as a "win for consumers".

He said that he met with all the main mobile operators yesterday and asked for "assurance that they will be fully compliant with the new rules and are ready for these new changes."

The Minister said that the deal will be transparent, and that Comreg will monitor and regulate the situation. 

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