Sunday 25 September 2016

Mobile phone users paying 50pc more than the EU average

Published 03/06/2015 | 02:30

Mobile phone users are being hit with some of the highest charges in Europe
Mobile phone users are being hit with some of the highest charges in Europe

Mobile phone users are being hit with some of the highest charges in Europe.

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The costs work out at 50pc more than the EU average, according to a new analysis by phone comparison app developer Killbiller.com.

And the cost of calls, texts and data combined are six times more expensive in this country compared with the cheapest EU rates.

Killbiller co-founder Bart Lehane, who carried out the research, said Irish people also paid far more for mobile phone services than it costs in countries in Europe that were similar in terms of population and size of economy.

"Irish consumers pay 35pc more than our Danish neighbours and 70pc more than Finnish subscribers," he said.

Dr Lehane said that consumers here were paying €100 a year more on average than people in other EU countries for comparable mobile services.

Average revenue per user, the standard mechanism for calculating costs, is €25 a month in this country. This is on a level with costs in France, one of most expensive countries.

Bill pay customers pay €35.55 a month, with those who buy credit for their phone paying €15.47 a month on average.

He blamed the high prices on "often deliberate confusion" that mobile operators generate though complex pricing plans.

And there is relatively little competition in the market, with three big players dominating, he said.

Last year's purchase of 02 Ireland by Three gives it 32pc of mobile subscribers. And both Vodafone (39pc) and Meteor/eMobile (21pc) command significant market share, the mobile phone expert said.

"Three's recent 25pc price increase for bill pay sim-only customers has increased fears that other operators in Ireland will follow suit.

"Without significant competitive pressure, prices could increase further. In the UK for example, you can select from over 10 competing networks," Dr Lehane said.

Recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) research found that Ireland is up to 42pc more expensive for mobile phone services than other countries.

Industry body Irish Cellular Industry Association (ICIA) rejected the Killbiller findings.

ICIA director Torlach Denihan said independent research using OECD-approved methodologies published last March found Ireland was the second cheapest when compared with five countries - Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK - for a basket of pre-paid mobile calls.

"Ireland is the third cheapest of these countries for a basket of bill-paid mobile calls and 29pc cheaper than the average price for these countries."

Irish Independent

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