Assembly Committee Examines Roaming Charges with Oireachtas Communications Committee
Synopsis: A delegation from the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment met informally this week with Members of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications.
Date: 27 June 2013
Reference: ETI 11/12/13
A delegation from the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment met informally this week with Members of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications. The Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Patsy McGlone MLA and Deputy Chairperson, Mr Phil Flanagan, were in attendance.
The main focus of the meeting was mobile roaming charges, including agreement to progress plans to curb inadvertent mobile phone roaming charges, which regularly arise for those living and travelling in border areas.
Speaking after the meeting, Committee Chairperson Patsy McGlone MLA said: "The meeting with colleagues in the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications was extremely useful. It was also very timely given that the European Commission recently announced that mobile roaming charges will drop across Europe on 1 July 2014.
"Several issues in relation to the digital agenda were discussed during the meeting. For instance, everyone concurred that more engagement with Commissioner Neelie Kroes on the digital agenda in Europe is needed. We will endeavour to seek joint meetings with the Commissioner in the near future. There was also discussion around the need to exert more pressure on mobile operators through the digital regulatory bodies in both jurisdictions – Ofcom and The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). I'm very pleased with the engagement that our two Committees had and look forward to more engagement in the future."
Reflecting on the meeting, Oireachtas Committee Vice-Chairman John O'Mahony TD said: "We thank both Patsy McGlone and Phil Flanagan for a valuable and fruitful exchange of views. The issue of roaming charges is an area of genuine concern for many living on either side of the border, particularly for those who incur these costs without leaving their own homes. This is a common problem in border regions across Europe, where signals from service providers overlap. Both Committees are anxious to do their utmost to ensure that the EU Commission abolishes roaming charges within the EU at the earliest possible date. We also explored other areas of mutual concern and are conscious of the benefits that might accrue from acting jointly in the future on matters identified as being of interest in both jurisdictions."