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Sinn Féin to meet mobile phone regulators on all-Ireland tariffs

29 November, 2004

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mitchel Mc Laughlin MLA will lead a Party delegation to meet with the Regulators of the Mobile Phone Industry North and South in Belfast tomorrow. Arthur Morgan TD, Co Louth, Councillor Pat Trainor, Co Cavan, Donegal County Councillor, Pearse Doherty and West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty will accompany Mr Mc Laughlin on the Delegation.

Speaking in Belfast today Mr Mc Laughlin said:

"Sinn Féin intends to put very forcefully the case for one mobile phone rate for all users on the island. Our delegation will be meeting with both Regulators which will give us the opportunity to challenge the application of different tariffs north and south. Mobile phone signals do not recognise borders and the imposition of unwarranted international roaming charges on an island population that is smaller than that of most European capital cities amounts to nothing short of immoral profiteering.

"Living in close proximity to the border often results in involuntary 'roaming' charges being imposed because of a competing stronger signal from the opposite side of the border. Short of turning the phone off when travelling this results in the customer having no option but to pay. That is unless the mobile phone service providers cease exploiting their customers on either side of the border.

"While I welcome the introduction by O2 (Ireland) of an all-Ireland rate for its 26 County customers I do not think that it is acceptable that in order to avail of this that customers should have to pay an extra fee of •7.50 per month. Neither do I see any reason why O2 in the North and all of the other providers cannot similarly introduce an all-Ireland unitary tariff.

"The same major providers of mobile phone services operate on both sides of the border and if they fail to voluntarily do so then there is no rational reason why regulators North and South cannot co-operate in imposing a formula for a single competitive tariff for the 32 Counties.

„Irish people per capita provide more profit to the companies than any of our European counterparts; in fact we are one of the highest in the world. Therefore I am calling on all mobile phone service providers to stop exploiting Irish customers and provide, without delay, a real all-Ireland rate for mobile phone users." ENDS

Attention Editors and Newsdesks

The meeting will take place at Landmark House, Gasworks Site, Ormeau Road at 12.30 pm. The Sinn Féin Delegation will be available to speak to the Media at 1.30 pm following the meeting.

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