Roaming charges on their way back: MLA

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The likely end of surcharge-free mobile phone roaming less than two years since it was introduced is another of the potentially negative financial consequences of Brexit for ordinary citizens, according to Foyle MLA Mark H. Durkan.

He made the appraisal after the British government published a notice acknowledging that in the event of ‘no deal’ on Brexit, mobile phone roaming charges will be back.

“In the unlikely event that we leave the EU without a deal, the costs that EU mobile operators would be able to charge UK operators for providing roaming services would no longer be regulated after March 2019. This would mean that surcharge-free roaming when you travel to the EU could no longer be guaranteed,” the notice said.

Mr. Durkan said this will hit people in the purse and pocket.

“Maybe now this proposed charge of mobile roaming as a direct financial consequence on individuals, will hit people were it hurts and the reality of Brexit will sink in,” he said.

He warned Derry is particularly vulnerable.

“For the rest of the UK, whilst a nuisance, these charges will not affect daily life, unless they choose to travel abroad. But as many in NI will know, our proximity to the border means that free mobile roaming is essential. To reintroduce these charges here would not only be illogical but unsustainable,” he said.

“This is yet another example of why there needs to be a concerted effort among politicians here to safeguard the unique relationship between the North and Republic in regards to Brexit,” he added.

In its technical notice on the subject London accepted the North’s unique situation.

“Consumers and businesses in border areas should be aware of the issue of ‘inadvertent roaming’. This is when a mobile signal in a border region is stronger from the country across the border. In this case, a consumer from NI in a border region of NI would roam onto an Irish network as the mobile phone signal is stronger from a network in Ireland,” it stated.