Wary welcome for roaming charge abolition

SINN Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has welcomed the end of roaming charges across the EU but warned that other hidden charges may still remain.

The Ireland South MEP was speaking as EU rules abolishing roaming charges came into effect today.

“I am delighted that after repeated delays and years of talks this ruling has finally come into force,” she said.

“For far too long consumers were led on a dance by greedy and unscrupulous mobile operators who exploited their customers with exorbitant charges.

“People would often return home from holidays to find charges that cost more than the trip itself. Then of course there were the ridiculous charges levied at Irish consumers travelling within their own country. The choice between risking enormous fees or paying for two mobile phones just became a fact of life for those living in the border counties.

“This is a progressive move by the EU and a welcome return to its core values of creating a social Europe that works for its people.

“While today’s achievement is to be welcomed I am acutely aware that the providers tried every trick in the book to get out of these changes and to keep the charges as are.

“There remain fears that hidden charges are still on the table following a side deal between mobile operators and the European Commission as a result of an extensive lobby by the industry.

“As well as this, data allowances from individual companies still vary widely from package to package. Going over these limits can still leave consumers open to substantial charges so I would urge people to check what their allowance is before using data while roaming.

“I will be keeping an eye on the implementation of these rules; I understand Comreg will also be monitoring how companies adhere to them and I invite members of the public to make contact with my office should they have any concerns.”