The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Communications Martin Ferris TD has called on the Government to introduce a Universal Service Obligation on mobile phone operators. Ferris said that this is necessary in order to ensure that when new licenses are put up for auction shortly that mobile phone users outside of the big population centres are guaranteed coverage.
Deputy Ferris said:
“Unless ComReg imposes a USO we are facing a situation in which the holders of operators licenses will be under no obligation to provide a service in lesser populated parts of the country. That would be unacceptable in relation to land lines or postal services and the same should now apply to what is an essential service for the vast majority of the population.
“ComReg has said that competition will ensure that the companies do compete for rural customers. However, the experience of deregulated markets in relation to other communications and public services proves that private operators will avoid areas of lower population.
“It is therefore essential that a Universal Service Obligation is put in place immediately, prior to the auctioning of the new licenses.”