14/11/2011

Roaming Charges In Ireland 'Need Rationalised'

Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has called for the mobile roaming charges to be "rationalised" across Ireland North and South.

Speaking ahead of a motion tomorrow to change the roaming charges while travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and Phil Flanagan said: “While I welcome the work done across Europe to lower the roaming charges, we still have a disparity across the border region of Ireland where businesses are being disadvantaged due to expensive data and phone roaming charges.

“It is important that we create a level playing field in attracting new businesses and the creation of the all Ireland tariff would help attract high tech industries to the North.

Mr Flanagan said that according to the most recent Ofcom report in 2007, inadvertent mobile roaming alone was costing people in border areas as much as £11m per year.

"This was at a time before the proliferation of smart phones and a massive surge in the amount of data being used on mobile phones, so it is anticipated that the total amount lost to the local economy is far higher than previous estimates.

“I am particularly concerned at the cost of roaming data charges being applied across the border as these tend to be very expensive for businesses trading in border areas.

The Sinn Fein MLA added that while the price of telephone charges had dropped considerably over the years, data charges have remained high.

"With the onset of e-commerce it is critical that companies along the border areas are given the opportunity to compete on an even basis.”

(DW/GK)

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