Talks underway on inadvertent roaming issue

Sunday 19 June 2005 22.13
Mobile technology - Issues to be resolved
Mobile technology - Issues to be resolved

Talks are continuing between the telecommunications regulators from the Republic and Northern Ireland to resolve the problem of inadvertent roaming.

In many parts of the border counties, mobile phone users find their phones automatically switch over to a UK network even though they are still in the Republic. Customers are then charged at international ‘roaming’ rates.

In places like Clones in Co Monaghan, due to its proximity to the border, mobile phones pick up and attack themselves to the strongest signal available and that can often be from a UK network provider.

To combat the problem, phone companies assert that users should disable the automatic network selection and manually chose their own service provider.

While some operators like O2 provide an All Ireland tariff, it does not apply to ‘pay as you go’ customers who form the majority of the mobile market in Ireland.

The communications regulator, ComReg, says it’s aware of the issue and is engaged in talks with its northern counterpart, OFREG, and with mobile companies to find a solution.