Irritating ‘keep your phone on’ texts and big bills to go

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Londonderry DUP Alderman Maurice Devenney has welcomed the announcement that by this time in 2017 you will no longer be getting messages from your mobile phone operator telling you to “keep your phone on in Europe” even though you’re in Europe already and miles from the border with Donegal.

The European Commission has announced that data roaming charges - and a rip off, which has disproportionately affected people living in this part of the world - are to finally abolished by June 2017.

“I’d like to welcome the announcement that at long last data roaming charges for mobile phone users are going to be abolished within the European Union by June 2017,” said the local Alderman.

“This will come as a relief for people across Northern Ireland and particularly those living in the Londonderry area and other areas near the border with the Republic of Ireland (ROI) who have faced and continue to face exorbitant bills as a result of these charges.

“I would have liked this to have happened a lot sooner and although that unfortunately didn’t happen it’s welcome that it has now at last,” he added.

Outlining the soon-to-be-changed landscape the European Commission said “proposals to end huge telephone bills while on holiday are finally to become a reality” ignoring the fact that for a decade-and-a-half of widespread mobile phone usage in the North West the citizens of Londonderry have been paying larger than necessary telephone bills right here at home as a result of roaming charges.

Almost two years after the European Commission put forward its proposal for a telecoms single market, an agreement was found with the European Parliament and the Council. T

he compromise was reached following final negotiations between the three institutions (so-called ‘trilogue’ meetings).

It foresees: The end of roaming charges in June 2017. When travelling in the EU, mobile phone users will pay the same price as at home, with no extra charges.

Strong net neutrality rules protecting the right of every European to access Internet content, without discrimination.

These measures will be completed by an ambitious overhaul of EU telecoms rules in 2016. This reform will include a more effective EU-level spectrum coordination.

Creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish is a key objective of the Commission’s plan for a Digital Single Market.