Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on North – South Bodies and Cross – Border Co-Operation Declan Breathnach has called for increased co-operation amongst mobile phone companies operating in the border region.

Deputy Breathnach says border residents have to deal with significant mobile phone disruption on a daily basis as a result of the need to re-register on a different network while in the border region.

“Significant advances have been made across Europe in increasing co-operation amongst mobile phone operators in recent years. The scrapping of roaming charges in the EU from 2017 is a welcome development, but not enough has been done to deal with unreliable mobile phone service while in the border region,” said Deputy Breathnach.

“For example, driving from Dundalk to Newry will result in mobile phone users having to re-register on different networks. This results in a total loss of service for a time. Furthermore, mobile phone users still experience dropped calls after registering on a new network. This is not only causing a significant inconvenience for families, but also for businesses operating in the border region.

“Mobile phone usage is continuously on the rise, and the greater prevalence of smartphones means it is more important than ever that people have access to a reliable phone network. We need to improve the reliability of the phone network if we want to enable local businesses to succeed and thrive. We must support our SME’s by providing the communication networks they require to do business.

“The Government must increase its efforts to ensure greater cross border co-operation in this area. One proposal that should be given serious consideration is for both Ofcom and Comreg, both of whom are responsible for communication regulation north and south of the border respectively, to operate a joint service in the border region to help promote inter-network connectivity.”