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back to article En Garde! Villagers FIGHT OFF FRENCH INVASION MENACE

England's world-famous White Cliffs of Dover have squared up to invading forces for centuries - but visitors to the seafront are warned to expect a more modern-day incursion: French mobile networks armed with steep roaming charges. Tourists taking a walk along the cliff-tops or beaches at St Margaret-at-Cliffe and St Margaret's …

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Megaphone

Operators Licence?

I thought a mobile network operator needed to be licenced in order to operate its network in the UK? I doubt these French operators have such a licence and I would therefore assume (legal bods, feel free to shoot me down) that charging for such services in the UK wouldn't be enforceable?

In which case, they can stick their roaming charges up their arse.

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Re: Operators Licence?

Ask sheep farmers about the French and what passes for laws in that country..

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Silver badge

Re: Operators Licence?

I'm intrigued. You seem to be implying that France applies onerous licensing terms to those wishing to operate sheep. Better that than the scourge of widespread unlicensed sheep operations!

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Meh

Re: Operators Licence?

You have to remember one thing here, in Britain we tend to follow all the rules sent down to us by the law makers.

Johnny Foreigner on the other side of the channel tends to stick his finger up in the air and shout Je t'encule les rosbifs!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Operators Licence?

As one American commented on workers at a French Tyre factory hoping for a foreign buyout, "they come into work for 7 hours a day, two of those hours is a lunch break and two hours are for coffee breaks. They are productive for less that 3 hours a day on top wages and you wonder why the business is failing?"

Note that the Unions would not negotiate on pay or conditions.

That about sums up French belligerence.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Operators Licence?

And as that yank was told, the French factory is bigger, more efficient, sells more tyres and has a higher productivity per worker than his USA drones can manage, although the USA as a whole has a high productivity rate. In fact, French worker productivity as a whole is higher even than that in Germany and GB is below all the other G7 countries. Try searching the internet for some figures. By way of consolation: GB employs more workers and creates more jobs to achieve its figures; USA, for example, increased its productivity per worker in work by increasing unemployment by 4 %. One could reasonably argue that more people in jobs is better.

Learn to love your neighbour and remember that a couple of million British have got holiday homes or other ties in France, with many of the rest taking holidays, enjoying the food and so on. Meanwhile, remember that France is a significant source of tourism and other business for GB, with a fair (or unfair) few French residents in GB.

Remember too that our language is heavily influenced, our culture - such as it is - and more betray a long connection. Even rather a lot of surnames, Christian names, place names. So stop being such xenophobic idiots.

Also, large swathes of the rest of Europe manage quite well with the problem of signals crossing borders, as I assume do the Americas, Africa, Asia. How about putting pressure on British providers to come to sensible cross-charging arrangements with each other and with "roaming" providers?

Ah, but I forgot, Britain's greatness, openness and flexibility stopped with the American take-over and the development of the GB cringe. Are you so worried that GB is incompetent and uncompetitive with its neighbours? Perhaps it really is so.

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Anonymous Coward

small cells?

small cells located in those areas - picocells/nanocells are probably a little too extreme but will do. should fix

this - likewise they could turn down their power on the other side of the sea.... but then you'll get complaints from those people who then cant get signal on the ferries...which would then have to have their own cells..and massive roaming charges. just turn off roaming. any sensible person does anyway unless they really are travelling.

I just feel sorry for the land-locked population of luxembourg who get many countries to roam with.

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Re: small cells?

Some ferries already carry their own network infrastructure that they can activate when undocked/in international waters (not that "international waters" applies to the Dover/Calais Run, it's more for longer distance ferry trips)

http://www.winssystems.com/ for example.

PS - How do you disable voice roaming on an android? Settings only allow for disabling data roaming - receive a call and you'll still get billed through France. Does "manual network selection" achieve this?

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Unhappy

Re: small cells?

Yup. Here in Luxembourg, one's eyes habitually flick to the top of the screen if one's near a border. And, as for those mandated text messages about roaming charges, they often arrive the next day, if at all (even if one's phone has been turned on all the time).

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Re: small cells?

Perhaps they should mandate that the operator can only charge the roaming rate if it can prove that the phone has received the "Roaming Charges" SMS? Often SMSs get held up in the SMSC for quite some time (whether the originating one or the home one) and there is no guarantee of timely delivery.

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Re: small cells?

@AC15:47: "I just feel sorry for the land-locked population of luxembourg who get many countries to roam with."

Try Baarle-Nassau/Baarle-Hertog one of these days. Half of the town is Dutch, the other half is Belgian. On some roads, you cross the border a dozen times in a couple of hundred meters. Great fun watching your satnav go gaga as it can't keep up with the 'Welcome in ...' messages.

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Re: small cells?

I got a roaming warning in Wales when my phone wanted to connect to Ireland. If I had been charged the carrier would have been told in no uncertain terms to do one, as I hadn't set foot off the mainland.

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Coat

Re: small cells?

i thought being transported out of Wales in some fashion would have been much appreciated. No?

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WTF?

Re: small (brain) cells?

Umm, the island comprised of England, Scotland and Wales hasn't been Ireland's "mainland" in nearly a century.

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Headmaster

Ancient news.

Truly ancient, when I worked in Dover and had a BT Cellnet 'brick' it would roam onto French networks when driving along the main road towards Deal, specifically in the dip by the Duke of York's school.

Possibly when the icon guy was HeadMaster..........

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Ancient news.

Yes, indeed. I used to live in the area (and visit quite a lot) and switching off roaming is just the obvious thing to do. You can also pick up French radio, zut alors, so I guess this is a multi-spectrum invasion of culture, communications and charges.

I was surprised to see it flare up in the headlines this morning. This article is a story about a story, and sometimes there's nothing wrong with that. Particularly if you can poke a bit of fun.

C.

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Pirate

Re: Ancient news.

As you say, this is a well known thing, my fathers Vodafone analogue breeze block carphone would regularly lock on to France on a clear day back in the distant past.

In this case I surmise that a DFL* from the media was having a pint down the cliffs at St Margaret's and called one of their friends (specifically to annoy everyone else in the pub), then they realised they were roaming and how much it was costing them.

On a more important point, why were the French operators able to reach a mutual carriage agreement for The Tunnel but the British operators not?

* DFL = 'Down From' London as they are known

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Gav
Boffin

Re: Ancient news.

This has to cut both ways; French mobiles picking up English masts. Yet somehow the French manage.

One can only conclude that the Daily Mail thinks its South English readers are too thick to know how to turn off roaming on their phone.

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Re: Ancient news.

That's an interesting theory about Daily Mail readers.

I couldn't possibly comment.

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Bronze badge

Re: Ancient news.

I was using a pre-GSM car brick and phoned England from Dunkerque at English rates, ca 1994.

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WTF?

Re: Ancient news.

"As you say, this is a well known thing, my fathers Vodafone analogue breeze block carphone would regularly lock on to France on a clear day back in the distant past."

But France never had an analogue cellphone network.

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Re: Ancient news.

"But France never had an analogue cellphone network."

Are you sure?

France operated an analog system called Radiocomm 2000 (my SO is French and had a Radiocomm 2000 carphone in her car back in those days).

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FAIL

Re: Ancient news.

But was it cellular?

Apparently yes:

"C'est avec Radiocom 2000 qu'apparaissent les premières notions de téléphonie cellulaire avec, peu après son lancement en 1986, l'apparition du hand over (capacité de changer de cellule dynamiquement) et de l'attribution de fréquences au sein d'une cellule. Le réseau couvre la quasi-totalité du territoire."

So I'm wrong.

Of course "En 1988, il compte 60 000 abonnés" so I guess I can see how I missed it.

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Going on for years and years

I've been reading about this topic for nigh on 15 years at least - what's different about today?

Thought the headline referred to this story, instead:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-21711244

Although I note in this case there seems no mention of advanced training in white-flag-waving as part of the exercise :)

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Re: Going on for years and years

Here's a similar story from 2-3 years ago, for example:

http://www.people.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/2010/08/21/no-headline-102039-22504429/

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Thumb Up

Re: Going on for years and years

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-18875128

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g e
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Stick a mast atop the cliffs

And charge the Froggies!!!

Zut alors!

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Pint

Johnny Foreigner

Quick call to the remaining Dam Busters will sort this out forthwith.. as for the pub, well it's obvious that no one wants to risk being handed a 50cl beer instead of a good, honest, British pint, shorting us a mouthful of the golden stuff.

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Devil

Civilized Provider Agreements

We have the same thing happen in the Village of Lewiston, NY where Canadian cell tower signals often override our own.

A simple call to the Service Provider making them aware usually resolves the issue. In most cases for our area, Verizon frequently denies the roaming charges based on the home location of the subscriber. Canada is only 1/2 mile away and there is a 20 mile stretch of the Niagara River in contention where boaters all want to have the cell phones working.

Apparently if both sides do the same then it all evens out in the end. It seems that radio signals know no boundaries, go figure. Somehow I think that it would be too easy to just use the phone and cell tower ID to correctly bill the user. Once you go futher inland all bets are off.

Probably alot easier to deny that you have not been to France than to say you have not been to Canada.

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Silver badge

In a progressively more and more global economic market, like regional restrictions on media, such localisations are becoming more and more anachronistic.

I see why we have this situation, but since we have a number of competing phone networks in this country and they manage to sort things out between themselves pretty well. Just a shame they can't do something sane internationally.

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Trollface

Holy flying camembert, lads!

> why T-Mobile and other network operators can't fix this problem

Ja, because the kraut invazion was successfully repelled, nein?

VERHANDLE DU DAMIT!

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FAIL

rant

Why the Westphalian FUCK do we even still have roaming within the EU?

The fact that, for example, Vodafone UK and Vodafone Italy are allowed to be separate entities isn't exactly in accordance with the spirit of the single market.

Sort it out Neelie!

(rant over)

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Devil

Re: rant

Well, you always roam between networks. Even in a single town, there may be roaming. How it is billed is another matter entirely and subject to a game of prisoner's dilemma, it seems.

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Facepalm

Re: rant

That would be the fault of, er, the EU.

The big networks would love to give you preferential treatment when on one of their overseas tentacles, but they're not allowed to as this would severely piss on the picnic of the small, local providers.

Put it this way. If your Voda, O2, T-mobile, etc phone contract gave you pan-European coverage on their networks, what would happen to 3's market.......? Ok, maybe not a serious problem in Blighty (although 3's continuous bleating about roaming rates leads me to believe that they think it is) but a really big, fat, hairy deal on the continent.

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Alert

Re: rant

"Why the Westphalian FUCK do we even still have roaming within the EU?"

Because there's shedloads of dosh to be made by all concerned.

//always the explanation for things that should have been fixed long ago

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France Telecom - Pah!

Strangest roaming message was from a Norwegian telecom operator - we were on the Cherbourg - Poole ferry at the time. Tropospheric atmoscatter I assume !

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Re: France Telecom - Pah!

Just in case you were being serious, it's because the cell and intnet often tends to go back to the county of origin of the ship. Doing an IP geo location when on free WiFi on Irish ferries will tell you you're in Norway.

What I don't get is that when the ship is within reach of 3g cells it continues to use the slow and incredibly expensive satellite connection.

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Re: France Telecom - Pah!

Telenor operate some of the ferry-networks, so although you are on a freey, the signalling looks like it is coming rom Norway (which means costs to use my not be too high as these things go).

This is much better though than some of the more "independant" ship networks - they really are separate, and your operator will charge you a multiple pounds per minute.

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Stop

Typical Daily Mail....

Can they blame it on the immigrants, bringing the signal over smuggled in their pants?

Probably.

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Black Helicopters

Nah, they'll just accuse the French signals of being illegal immigrants, and demand that either all such signal carry proper electronic passports or are immediately deported back, after of course a lengthy trial and appeals process...

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Furthest distance from operators origin country

My old Nokia brick used to connect to Orange France network underneath the cliffs on Portland (no... I wasn't smuggling Brandy), approx 80 miles from Cherbourg as the barrel floats. circa 2000 ish.

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FAIL

35 Kms

Why is the distance in Km??? We work in miles last time i checked. Try not to be Eurotards please.

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Joke

Re: 35 Kms

Do you write for the Daily Mail?

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Gav
FAIL

Re: 35 Kms

And the last time you checked would have been 1950.

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Re: 35 Kms

I just had a look at the nearest road sign. Miles.

I suggest you have a look Gav...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 35 Kms

Are you serious? What continental area do you think you inhabit. UK has been officially metric for over a century in some things and for all since I was at school in the 1960s. Pints and miles were just to comfort the retards. I notice, as a runner and walker, that distances for these are customarily in kilometres nowadays, a five minute K being a handy measure of a reasonable, not excessive speed.

How can such retarded, antique atttitudes be expressed on a "technical" website? Do you still measure temperature in Fahrenheit (German? Danish? I forget) and shop in old pennies and shillings or even groats? Do you insist on converting the petrol quantities you buy to gallons (English or American?). Perhaps you are not technical in any sense, just some senile wanderer who found yourself here by mistake.

There are compensations you know: a litre of beer is a lot more than a pint and comes complete with glasses big enough to hold it.

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Re: 35 Kms

Actually, whilst I agree entirely with what you say, "Are you serious" AC, I do still convert to miles per gallon for my car's fuel consumption. It just means more to me than litres per 100km, plus it's easier to do the conversion in my head from litres > gallons than miles > km.

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