Cellphone users who text in the Irish language are crying foul. They say they are being overcharged because the phone service charges for characters as opposed to letters. And the síneadh fada – that stroke above the letter i – is considered a character.
Irish cellphone company Vodafone has stated that users will be charged for three text messages if they include a single síneadh fada in a text of 160 characters.
Operators say texts are charged according to the data used, as opposed to the number of characters.
Messages with characters in Irish or indeed Mandarin, use more characters than a standard text in English. Vodafone, and also O2, say they conform to global standards set by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, which defines the list of alphabet characters and symbols.