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Assembly seeks Oireachtas support to eradicate roaming charges - Flanagan

8 January, 2013 - by Phil Flanagan

Sinn Féin Deputy Chair of the Assembly Enterprise Committee, Phil Flanagan MLA (Fermanagh/South Tyrone) has secured agreement in the Committee to contact the Oireachtas Joint Committee for Communications & Transport seeking its support in working to eradicate roaming charges across Ireland.

 Mr Flanagan, said:

 "The Enterprise Committee recently took evidence from Ofcom on the issue of roaming charges following the publication of its latest Telecommunications Market Report in July, which indicated that consumers in border areas were paying up to £300 a year in inadvertent roaming charges.

 "Following a Sinn Féin motion in the Assembly calling for an end to roaming charges, I asked Ofcom to once again look at the issue of roaming; its previous work in 2007 indicated that as much as £11 million per annum was being lost to the local economy in border communities through inadvertent roaming charges.

"I therefore proposed that the Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee approach the Joint Committee for Communications & Transport in the Oireachtas to work together to seek the eradication of roaming charges across Ireland.

 “I am delighted that this has now been progressed and correspondence has been sent to the Oireachtas Committee.

 "It is unacceptable that companies such as O2, Vodafone and 3, which operate across the island of Ireland, continue to impose unacceptable roaming charges on unsuspecting consumers. These excess premiums imposed by the same parent company is pure and simple profiteering as there is no additional operating costs incurred by the companies.

"Assembly and Oireactas committees working together to deal with this issue will exert greater pressure on the operators to remove all roaming charges, deliver a fair deal to consumers in Ireland and improve coverage in rural and border areas.

 "It is time that the operators stopped ripping consumers off.

 “That is the clear message I would expect to come out of any joint workings of the two committees to deal with this matter." 

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