An Post targets data usage with revamped prepay phone service
An Post is to relaunch its struggling mobile phone operator, PostFon, with a new name and new offerings aimed at attracting data-hungry customers who are on a budget.
The new service, to be called Post Mobile, will operate as a prepay virtual operator on Vodafone's Irish network.
It comes ahead of the summer launch of a brand new Irish mobile operator run by The Carphone Warehouse and another new venture set to launch in the autumn from cable operator UPC.
PostFon currently has 30,000 customers in Ireland, a number that represents only "limited success", according to Liam Sheehan, sales director for An Post.
"The market has moved on and we haven't had a competitive offering," he said.
"So we've renegotiated our deal with Vodafone and are coming back to the market with something more fit for purpose and which will aggressively challenge other services out there."
The new service will offer data packages of 3GB and 5GB for €20 per month, with varying levels of calls and text messages included in the plans.
Mr Sheehan said that An Post has committed €750,000 to a new advertising campaign backing the relaunch. He said that the service would trade on the strength of the extended An Post branch network.
"We're going to be live in 250 post offices, which gives us the biggest retail network for phones in Ireland," he said.
"In those 250 offices, we have a weekly footfall of 900,000 people." Mr Sheehan said that the company has retrained staff to deal with the new service.
Irish phone users are increasingly looking to data over calls and texts in choosing their mobile operator.
Vodafone recently increased its monthly data limits after losing tens of thousands of pre-paid customers who switched to rivals with bigger data offerings.
However, An Post's 3GB and 5GB packages compare quite modestly to some rival prepay packages at the same €20 tariff.
3 Ireland currently offers 15GB per month for €20 per month, although 3 Ireland is currently considering cutting its monthly data allowances for new customers as it integrates O2 Ireland into its network.