Sunday 4 December 2016

Consumers hit as telephone and broadband prices set to increase

Published 23/01/2016 | 02:30

Families with Eir Vision and Sky Sports will see a rise in the subscription rate. Photo: PA
Families with Eir Vision and Sky Sports will see a rise in the subscription rate. Photo: PA

Families are to be hit with higher costs for making phone calls and using broadband as both Eir and Virgin Media are pushing up prices.

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Eir, which used to be called Eircom, is writing to 500,000 residential and business customers to tell them about monthly rises and higher costs for calls.

The higher charges will apply to those on bundles - these are package deals where consumers get phone and broadband, and other services, from the same provider.

The cost of the average Eir bundle for households will rise by €3 a month from April 7. This works out at €36 a year.

Along with the monthly costs of bundles going up, Eir's charges for telephone calls made outside bundle limits will increase. The call set-up fee goes up, as does the cost per minute of a call outside a bundle limit. Some of the call rates for those made outside the bundle limit are rising by 50pc.

However, the company insisted that 90pc of its customers on bundles stay within call limits.

The largest telecoms company in the state, Eir will increase the monthly bundle charges to businesses by up to €10. This works out at €120 a year.

Those who get a TV package from Eir will see price rises of up to €4 a month.

A family with Eir Vision television with a Sky Sports package will pay €40 a month from April, up from €38.

The company said the price changes would affect 490,000 residential customers and 62,000 business customers.

However, the price changes will not affect new customers that have signed up to Eir since September.

Eir also raised prices this time last year. Virgin customers will see bundle costs rise by €5 a month, which works out at €60 a year. The higher prices apply from March.

Virgin is pushing up prices by 6pc, a multiple of the overall inflation rate.

The company, which entered this market three months ago when it re-branded from UPC, said customers with TV and mobile customers will not be hit with a price increase.

Customers of both firms have 30 days from the issue of price-rise notices to change provider or downgrade to a different bundle with their existing provider without being penalised, according to Mark Kellett of rival Magnet Business.

The head of the Consumers' Association, Dermott Jewell, advised consumers to look at their options.

Irish Independent

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