[Sinn Fein]

27th January 2003

Sinn Fein TD demands action to ensure Irish mobile phone users aren't being ripped off

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Telecommunications Seán Crowe has asked the Director of Telecommunication Regulation (DTR) to investigate mobile phone operator Vodafones ``extremely high charges in comparison to other European countries''. Deputy Crowe made his call after it emerged that Vodafone charges in Ireland were on average €542 per customer compared with €312 in Germany, €347 in Italy and €455 in Britain.

The Dublin South West TD said:

``It is inconceivable that operating costs alone could account for these very wide variations in charges. These are extremely high charges in comparison to other European countries. I am calling on Etain Doyle, the Director of Telecommunications Regulation to investigate this issue as a matter of urgency to ensure that Irish customers aren't being ripped off.

``Only last week mobile phone operators in Britain were threatened with court action by Oftel, the industry watchdog there, if they didn't reduce their charges significantly. David Edmonds, Oftel director general has accused British mobile phone franchise holders including Vodafone and O2 of ``acting against the public interest'' and wants to see a 15% cut in mobile phone related charges this year with similar cuts over the next three years. He believes that mobile phone charges are 40% higher than they should be. The question is are Irish customers being ripped off too. Etain Doyle should adopt a similarly strong line here.''

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