Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has welcomed the adoption today of proposals by the European Commission to introduce a single European Telecoms Market and ban roaming charges. Mr Flanagan, who is the Deputy Chair of the Assembly's Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee, said:
"The long awaited publication of this legislation is very good news for mobile phone consumers, not only across Ireland, but right across Europe.
"This move demonstrates the positive impact that being part of the European Union can have for citizens and bringing such progressive change should be the European Commission's primary focus.
"For many years, we have seen mobile phone operators being told time and time again to reduce roaming charges, to stop ripping off consumers, but they have continued to unfairly exploit their own customers.
"As a result, the European Commission has been left with no option but to legislate for the reduction, and now, the banning of roaming charges.
"This, however, must only be the start of the journey. Much more action needs to be taken to remove remaining extortionate charges, particularly when it comes to data roaming, where consumers continue to pay over the odds for a service that costs mobile phone operators very little to provide.
"Mobile phone operators need to react positively to this move and realise that both consumers and legislators want roaming charges abolished. Any move to pass on their lost earnings to customers must be guarded against and resisted by the European Commission. Roaming charges have been a cash cow for operators for far too long. They cannot simply be allowed to replace that income with a new source of profiteering by increasing other prices."