The White Cliffs of Dover may be an enduring symbol of England, but according to telecoms firms they are French. Mobile phone users are falling subject to French pricing when they wish to walk along the beach. Telecoms firms are charging users of a beach in Kent as if they were the other side of the Channel.
Residents of the tiny seaside village of St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe have to turn off their mobiles to avoid being hit with international roaming charges when they walk along the beach.
The resort, sitting on top of the chalk-covered cliffs immortalised by Vera Lynn’s wartime song, is the closest place in Britain to the French coastline, just 18 miles away from Calais. Due to St. Margaret’s large white cliffs that line the bay, beach goers are unable to pick up mobile provider EE’s connection, and so EE has issued a statement warning beach goers to turn off roaming while in the area:
A spokesman from phone company EE advised residents and visitors in St Margaret’s to switch off roaming while in the area to avoid getting “Welcome to France” messages.
Locals and tourists alike say they cannot walk along the iconic cliffs without being sent a message saying ‘Welcome to France’ with a list of hiked charges. Nigel Wydymus, 53, who owns the Coastguard pub on the beach, said customers avoided his pub because they feared being charged for data roaming.
“Tourists who come down from London to see the White Cliffs are the ones who find it most annoying. They sit there with their iPhones and are shocked to receive a foreign signal when they still in England.”
These start at 28 pence to make a call, 7.9 pence to receive one and 8.9 pence to send a text, up to four times the price of a normal English network.