Mobile phone operator 3 axes cross-border roaming charges
Mobile phone company 3 has teamed up with other operators to remove phone and data roaming charges between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Chief executive Dave Dyson said that Northern Ireland people are among the most avid smartphone and data users in the UK, with an average 3 user in Northern Ireland using about 1.5GB of data in a month.
Top five services by customer numbers were Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, YouTube and Android Market, while the top five services by data consumption were YouTube, Netflix, Android Market, iTunes and BBC iPlayer.
The firm has also spent £12m to improve its network infrastructure in Northern Ireland, which has more than doubled the size of the operator's network with 95% of the population now covered.
The work, which began last November, has increased the number of mobile sites to 400, while 3G has been rolled out to improve mobile internet speeds.
Mr Dyson said that the new Feel at Home service will remedy cross-border roaming by allowing the use of domestic minutes in the Republic of Ireland and six other countries.
Roaming charges have always been a huge issue for users in border areas like Derry and Newry.
"We're growing faster in Northern Ireland than in other areas of the UK, we've improved our network coverage and thanks to our relationship with other smaller providers we have been able to do away with roaming charges for our customers making phone calls and downloading information in Northern Ireland and the Republic," he said.
"Cross-border roaming has been a real concern for mobile users in Northern Ireland. Feel at Home will give them peace of mind and remove a barrier to enjoying the mobile internet, which has been a particular problem."