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Single all Ireland phone tariff sensible and cost efficient - de Brún

13 December, 2004


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today reiterated the party's calls for a single all Ireland phone tariff, after it emerged that the EU's telecom regulator will investigate the effects of 'roaming' charges for people living in the border region.

Ms de Brún said that the benefits of a single all Ireland phone tariff would ensure that people 'would not be discriminated against simply because of where they lived in Ireland'.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"With the increasing popularity of the mobile phone, Irish customers have been at the mercy of the large tele communications companies who have charged customers exorbitant rates when making calls from the north to the south and vice versa.

"In addition to the unequal tariffs between north and south, it must also be remembered that mobile phone signals do not recognise borders. Many mobile phones switch to another service provider when the signal from a different mast provider is stronger. People all along the border region are affected by this, and are having to pay extra charges, heaped on top of their standard phone bill.

"Sinn Féin believes that Irish mobile phone users deserve better. Tele-communications companies have made their profits on the back of this situation, for too long. We have consistently called for the introduction of a single all Ireland phone tariff, which would ensure that mobile phone users would not be discriminated against simply because of where they lived in Ireland. At the end of November '04, a Sinn Féin delegation met with the Regulators of the Mobile Phone Industry north and south to put the case for a single mobile phone rate for all users.

"I want to welcome the news that the EU's telecom regulator will investigate this issue. If service providers in Ireland are not going to take the initiative, then it may be necessary for an EU body to make recommendations. If enough public and political pressure is brought to bear on this industry, Irish mobile phone users will pay an equal service charge whether they live in Kerry or Belfast, Newry or Dundalk." ENDS

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