Kent villagers face French roaming fees - in England
White cliffs of Dover are blamed for leaving locals paying extra for 'French' mobile calls
KENT'S famous white cliffs, a symbol of England's historical resistance to invasion, could be responsible for giving the French a foothold on this side of the channel - thanks to mobile phones.
Villagers in St Margaret's at Cliffe and St Margaret's Bay near Dover have been racking up roaming fees when their devices automatically connect to French networks.
The villages are just 18 miles from Calais and according to the Daily Telegraph: "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."
The paper explains that the chalk cliffs themselves could be to blame: "Mobile signals travel only in straight lines and the majestic cliffs, made famous by Vera Lynn's wartime song, block out any English network."
Not only do those who get connected to a French network end up paying more – roaming fees mean 28p-a-minute to make a call, 8p-a-minute to receive one and 9p to send a text - the problem is also driving a wedge between couples. The Daily Mail reports that one villager was accused of having an affair when his wife saw French numbers on his phone bill.
The Mail is unimpressed by the French invasion. "Some [villagers] say they now keep their phones off at all times to avoid huge fees while shop owners are blaming the problem for keeping trade away."
Nigel Wydymus, 53, who owns the Coastguard pub, told the Telegraph that locals tend to avoid his bar because of the threat of being connected to French networks.
"Tourists who come down from London to see the White Cliffs are the ones who find it most annoying," he said. "They sit there with their iPhones and are shocked to receive a foreign signal when they are still in England." ·