31/07/2003

SDLP call for an end to 'rip off' border mobile charges

Mobile telephone operators in Ireland have done far too little to cut the charges levied on customers living in border areas and urgent action should now be taken by regulators.

That was the message from SDLP Economy spokesman Alasdair McDonnell who has hit out at mobile phone companies for failing to tackle the issue of customers in border areas being charged international rates for local calls.

He said: “Mobile phone companies are ripping off customers in border areas of Northern Ireland and should urgently provide a standard network tariff which reflects that these calls are actually local ones.

"The problem arises when border callers have their mobile call diverted to phone masts which are located South of the border. This results in them being charged international rates for what are essentially local calls. At present border customers can expect to be charged up to £1.50 per minute leading to massive bills for those affected."

Mr McDonnell claimed the current situation was brought to the attention of operators a number years ago but, as so far, no real change has been implemented for those affected.

"If the mobile operators in Ireland do not act to bring down the sky high charges then regulators should step in and seriously investigate the matter," he concluded.

(MB)

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