West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Mobile phone companies should 'unilaterally' end Roaming Charges-Doherty

Published: 21 January, 2014

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has welcomed information published by Ofcom outlining measures now being taken by the main mobile phone companies to move them towards compliance with EU legislation designed to protect customers against inadvertent roaming charges. However, he said it was now time that all mobile phone companies unilaterlay dispenced with their unjust roaming charges altogether.
The local MP said,
"Ofcom has been in discussions with the main mobile operators in the north (Three, Vodafone, EE and O2) since July 2012 to discuss what measures they are taking to protect their customers from inadvertent roaming charges in line with European Regulations. The measures announced include special tariffs, technical innovations and providing specific advice to their customers
"However, while welcome it is clear that these mobile phone companies have only brought forward these measures as they are being forced to do so because of strengthening EU legislation aimed at eradicating iniquitous roaming charges which see up to £300 a year being added to the bills of customers in border areas like ours each year, according to a recent Ofcom study.
"Sinn Féin has been to the fore of the campaign to get rid of these charges on an all-Ireland basis in all the elected forums available to us including through the Joint Committee on the Implementation Committee of the GFA of which I am member.
"Similar pressure has been building against these iniquitous charges right across Europe with the 27 European Commissioners voted last year to fast track major reforms of telecoms regulations, which aim to merge all 27 EU countries in a single telecom market.
"This culminated in the announcement in Dublin by Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission, that the body plans to press for the complete abolition of roaming by the summer of 2014 and it is possible that these proposals could come into effect as soon as July 1st, 2014. Instead of waiting to being compelled to do so, all the main mobile phone companies should now unilaterally announce that they are going to do away with roaming charges on the island of Ireland altogether."