Foyle MLA raises roaming charges issue in Northern Assembly

The Northern Assembly has again heard calls for legislation to be introduced immediately to remove the unwarranted practice of roaming charges in border areas.

This issue was been raised by Foyle SDLP member Pat Ramsey who said people are facing huge mobile phone bills because they are unintentionally roaming.

Speaking during an Assembly debate on the issue, Mr Ramsey said people in Derry, particularly in Culmore, Strathfoyle, Creggan, Eglinton and some areas of the Waterside are badly affected by inadvertent roaming charges on a daily basis as the River Foyle knows no borders.

He says he has called many people on their mobile phones only to be asked to call them back on the landline number as they are roaming on an Irish network.

The same happens in reverse for customers in Donegal.

Mr Ramsey says that If the immediate introduction of an all-Ireland telecommunications tariff can be expedited, not only will it support the European Commission's plans to abolish roaming charges completely, but it will also right a great injustice to border users.

He said the idea that a transmitter on a hilltop overlooking counties Derry and Donegal can charge two different rates depending on where you live is fundamentally wrong and discriminative.