Flanagan welcomes progress on roaming charges abolition
Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has welcomed the announcement by the Vice President of the European Commission, with responsibility for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes that the European Commission plans to abolish roaming by the summer of 2014.
The announcement was made today at a meeting of the Digital Agenda Assembly in Dublin Castle as part of the Irish Presidency of the EU.
The 27 European Commissioners recently voted to fast track major reforms of telecoms regulations, which aim to merge all 27 EU countries in a single telecom market.
Mr Flanagan, who is the Deputy Chair of the Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee, which has taken a keen interest in roaming charges, said:
“I am delighted to hear this positive development that the abolition of roaming charges across Europe remains a priority for the European Commission and that a target of summer 2014 has now been agreed.
"The issue of cross-border charges and additional expenses in all forms of telecommunications services is one that needs urgently addressed and is a major bone of contention for many people, particularly in border areas in Ireland.
“In the absence of any recent progress from the European Commission I have been driving this issue through the ETI Committee and we recently met with each of the major network operators, where our dissatisfaction at their practices was clearly expressed and they left in no doubt that we want to see them take proactive action to reduce costs for consumers.
“Concrete details will be agreed upon and published within the next number of weeks and it is possible that these proposals could come into effect as soon as July 1st, 2014.
“The ETI Committee have recently sought to engage with Commission Kroes on the issue of roaming charges and I am hopeful that we can further discuss this matter in the very near future with her and ensure that the proposed changes are delivered upon.”