Commission Working to Reduce Roaming Costs

Published On:Thursday, May 01, 2014

Communications Commission chairman Juan Watterson MHK has welcomed moves to cut and limit the cost of roaming charges for local residents using their mobile phones off-Island.

Manx Telecom has recently announced a trial reduction in roaming data rates, from £1.50 per Mega Bit to 50p per, for people traveling in the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands, which accounts for 80% of roaming. Sure has also announced that it is introducing a system which will enable its mobile users to choose a spending limit for data services. As the customer reaches 80% of their chosen limit they will receive a text message reminding them of their chosen limit and explaining that access to data will shortly be stopped, plus a further message once their data access is blocked. Both operators also have roaming packages (“bolt ons”) which can help further reduce roaming costs.

Mr Watterson said:

“The high cost of roaming while off-Island has been of concern to consumers for some time, and the Communications Commission has been working with the Island’s mobile phone companies to find ways of bringing it down and to reduce “Bill Shock”. The Commission welcomes these recent initiatives by Manx Telecom and Sure and will continue to work with operators to get better deals for consumers.”

He explained that because the Isle of Man was not part of the European Union, it could not take advantage of new EU rules to reduce prices for roaming in Europe. However, the Commission had been encouraging Manx Telecom and Sure to cut costs and to prevent bill shock for Island residents travelling in the UK and Europe.

Mr Watterson concluded:

“I welcome the fact that our operators are moving to lower prices and offer roaming packages which can help reduce roaming costs for Manx residents who want or need to use their phones when they are off-Island. Reduced roaming rates and the ability to limit data charges will help both businesses and consumers.”