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19th Jul 2012

What the Fada? Sending a Text as Gaeilge Costs Three Times More Than Texting in English

Irish is great, but did you know that your cupla focal to your BFF could be costing you triple the price of a normal text.


Ah Irish. The mother tongue – it’s great, isn’t it? We all love busting out a bit of Gaeilge every now and then (especially when we’re using it to confuse tourists) but you might want to be careful where you drop your lioms and leats.

The Irish Independent reports today that texting as Gaeilge actually costs three times as much as sending a normal text in English. What the fada?!

Yes, Vodafone confirmed yesterday that users get charged for three text messages if they include a single fada in one text.

So, the Government is always banging on about how we need to speak more Irish, yet when we try to send our friends a good old “cad é an chraic?!” text, we’re charged triple the amount. Eh…sense?

So why the massive price hike if we choose to inject a little Irish colour into our texts? Mobile phone operators blame the cost on technical reasons. You see texts are charged according to how much data you use – this means that when you switch from English to Irish, you use more data by using words that have fadas or accents over them (it’d be the same if you were texting in France or Mandarin).

“If a customer is texting in Irish and they type the full 160 characters, a standard text message, that includes at least one fada, they will be charged for three text messages,” said a spokeswoman for Vodafone.

An Coimisiner Teanga, the official language commissioner, said that he could not intervene with regards to the issue because mobile phone companies are private business and, as it stands, the communications regulator, Comreg, has taken no action.

Well mná na hÉireann, cad a cheapann sibh?