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Mitchel Mc Laughlin welcomes Vodaphone (Ireland) announcement on roaming charges

9 March, 2006

Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson, Mitchel Mc Laughlin has welcomed today's announcement by Vodafone (Ireland) that it is to remove roaming charges for its 26 County contract customers.

Mitchel Mc Laughlin said:

"Today's announcement by Vodaphone (Ireland) follows similar recent announcements made by O2 Ireland and T-Mobile on roaming charges for their Southern based customers.

"While I welcome this move I find it frustrating that the Northern service providers have so far failed to follow the example of their Southern sister companies.

"I have lobbied strongly for many years to have this anomaly in mobile phone service remedied and am heartened that some movement is now evident. The fact that Irish based providers can overcome this problem demonstrates that it is not insurmountable, contrary to the impression given by these multi-national companies for too long.

"I believe that unless the British based providers match these offers then their customers here in the North will seriously consider moving their business to the Southern operators.

"I call on Direct Rule Minister Angela Smith and Noel Dempsey, the Irish Communications Minister, to put pressure on all mobile companies to deal with this issue now but in doing so they must also address the situation for pre-pay customers. Many pre-pay customers are young people and those who can‚t qualify monthly contracts. It is from this group that the Operators make the bulk of the windfall profits that they reap from inadvertent roaming charges. This situation cannot be allowed to continue unabated." ENDS

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