TENS of thousands of mobile phone users in border areas of South Armagh will be better off after the announcement by the European Commission that mobile roaming charges will be abolished from next summer.
Keady Sinn Féin Councillor Darren McNally said the move was “long overdue”.
“The creation of a single telecom market across Europe will reduce costs for people who live in border areas where mobile phones roam inadvertently,” he said.
“Mobile roaming is a huge problem for people in the rural areas south of Armagh city who are contracted to one network but who roam onto many other networks during the course of their day.
“People in Crossmore typically purchase phones on southern networks such as o2 IRL or Vodafone IE as these are the networks with service in this area.
“Problems arise, however, when these people go further into the north to Armagh, for example to school or to do business, as the phone then roams onto the northern version of these networks. Of course there is a cost implication in roaming with people being charged in some cases even to receive calls and texts.
“I also hope that the irritating texts which seem to come in twos ‘welcoming’ people to the UK or the Republic of Ireland when they have travelled only a few miles from their homes will be a thing of the past under the new regulations.
“I think this new ruling is a step in the right direction and will certainly be welcomed by those living along the border corridor. This will also have a positive impact on those doing business in the area. Currently most business people would operate two mobile phones, a northern and a southern one, hopefully now this practice will no longer be required and those in business will see a reduction in communication costs.”