herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Anger as roaming charges are set to stay

EU ministers have backed a proposal that sees them kept until at least 2018
EU ministers have backed a proposal that sees them kept until at least 2018

The decision to postpone the scrapping of roaming charges has been described as a "terrible shame" for consumers as the hated charges are set to stay for the foreseeable future.

Plans had been announced to abolish the charges by early 2015, but EU ministers have backed a proposal that sees them kept until at least 2018.

The current format leaves many mobile phone users complaining about excessive rates when making calls while travelling within the European Union.

Charges can vary depending on the telecom operator, but the rates were expected to be scrapped.

The apparent u-turn on the decision has left consumers "frustrated" with Consumer Association of Ireland spokesperson Dermott Jewell citing lobbying efforts by members within the industry as a key component in seeing the charges stay.

"There was a firm commitment by the European Parliament and the Commission last year to end these charges by the end of 2015," he said.

"It is deeply frustrating that this plan should fall at the final hurdle. The lobbying efforts of industry to keep them have clearly worked and that's a terrible shame for consumers."

While the roaming charges will not be scrapped completely for at least three years, a proposal approved by the European Council will see the rates reduced.

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