Eir is to begin charging €5.99 per month for its Eircom.net email service, which has been free for almost 20 years. From 1st July, Eircom.net account holders who don’t pay won’t be able to open individual email messages. If they don’t pay within two months, their email account will be deleted. The new charge system may leave thousands of people feeling trapped into paying a new monthly subscription to avoid losing access to long-standing business, community and personal contacts.  This will cause significant inconvenience to people who have used an Eircom.net email address as their login to Property Tax, Revenue, Online banking, online bills like phone and electricity, Facebook and other social media, library membership, shop loyalty cards, online shopping, job applications, holiday bookings, online car tax and insurance, Amazon, Sky, TicketMaster, Netflix, Instagram, Ebay etc etc…..you’d be amazed how many things we use our email addresses for!

(Info source Irish Times online) Eircom.net email users who do not wish to start paying the new monthly subscription can export their emails and contact addresses to free services such as Gmail. Instructions for doing so can be found at support.google.com and involve setting up a Gmail account or using an existing Gmail account. Fortunately, there are plenty of free alternatives on the market for those who chose to move and switching to another account is straight-forward. If you are an affected user you will need to set up a new free email account, e.g with gmail. You will then have to get the emails and other data from your old eircom.net account and tell your contacts you have changed your email address.

A new free account, as close to your original email address as possible, can be set up at gmail.com. You should create a strong password using a combination of numbers, letters and special characters and include a recovery email address and a recovery phone number to help if you ever need to recover a password if it is lost or forgotten. The next step is to merge your old eircom.net account to the new gmail account. It sounds more complicated than it is; when you log into your new gmail account you will see the settings in the top right hand corner of the screen.

After clicking on “Settings” you will need to click on “Account and Import” or “Accounts” and then click “add a mail account”.

Then enter your eircom.net account details and click “next”. You should then follow the on-screen detail by clicking “next” until you get to the screen below and fill in the details using your actual email address in place of the XYZ. Change other details so they match the below.

And then you will be all set. Your emails from eircom.net will be on your new service and the addresses of the people who you routinely contact by email will still be easy to find.

While this all may sound complicated and headache-inducing it is actually quite simple and once it is done, it will be done forever and if you so choose you will be able to shut down your soon-to-be-dear eircom email addresses without losing any important information.

It is, however, better that you do it now when you have a bit of time rather than waiting until the end of March when you may be under more pressure to migrate your mail and contacts from one email service to another or else risk losing a load of information.