South Down MLA Chris Hazzard has welcomed a recent briefing from Ofcom on measures being introduced to protect customers from inadvertent Roaming Charges.
The Consumer body has been in discussions with mobile operators since July 2012 upon the enactment of EU regulations calling for the ending of roaming charges across Europe. In June of last year a joint initiative between the Assembly and the Oireachtas led to an agreement that Ofcom would also work with operators to deal with the issue of inadvertent roaming charges, where consumers across Ireland are charged to roam, without having entered the other jurisdiction.
Mr.Hazzard said: “I’m delighted to learn that most of the major mobile operators by now have measures in place, and that others are continuing to follow suit. These changes will help to protect customers working and living in border areas, so it’s vitally important to the people of South Down that the operators deliver on these requirements.
“For customers living in Warrenpoint or Rostrevor, roaming charges are a constant annoyance and come with a considerable charge. Even for someone from Downpatrick to visit Newry for the day to shop, often means they are hit with inadvertent roaming costs. This is simply unacceptable in this day and age, and particularly as society continues to embrace smartphone technology, more and more people were being hit with this unfair cost.
“Some of the measures put in place include special tariffs by companies like Three who have eliminated roaming charges to the south for pay monthly customers and Vodafone who’ve introduced a half price Ireland Plus tariff. Other measures include technical innovations by companies like O2 who’ve introduced a TuGo app which allows users to make calls on Wi-Fi networks using their standard allowances.”
Mr.Hazzard added: “Anyone seeking advice on reducing their exposure to roaming charges should either contact their store or use their suppliers website or Ofcom website for information. It is vital that local people make themselves aware of what help exists in order to protect them from future involuntary charges.”]]>