Mobile networks draw lines for price war
Ireland's biggest mobile phone networks are preparing for a price war as two new operators prepare to launch into the market here.
Vodafone, 3 Ireland and Meteor are all planning new deals to persuade Ireland's four million phone customers to stick with existing providers. Call, SMS and data allowances are all expected to see a change as the average Irish bill looks set to fall below €25 per month.
The operators' move comes ahead of next month's launch of iD, a new operator from Dixons Carphone, the company formed from the merger of Dixons and The Carphone Warehouse.
The new operator, which is investing €30m in the enterprise, released research claiming that a third of Irish bill-pay customers plan to switch networks in the next 12 months
While it has not yet announced details of tariffs or plans, its UK sister network has launched 'free' iPhone deals on €30 per month contracts.
Meanwhile, UPC is to launch a mobile operator of its own in the autumn. The cable operator will complete the launch after announcing that it is also to buy TV3 in an €80m deal.
Magnus Ternsjo, CEO of UPC, said that the cable operator will be pushing bundled 'quadplay' services as a key offering.
"This forms part of our planned strategy to grow by further developing our connected entertainment services and building on our phone service by entering the mobile arena and making UPC more attractive to our customers," he said.
Ireland's mobile phone market is dominated by three networks, Vodafone (37pc), 3 Ireland (33pc) and Meteor (20pc). Tesco Mobile is the only 'virtual' mobile operator to gain significant market share, with 6pc of Irish phone users.
"Over 65pc of the [Irish] market are pre-pay mobile customers who have not committed to a mobile operator," said Hamish White, iD general manager.
"Equally, our research shows there is a real appetite to switch. We know what consumers are looking for and are not currently getting from their mobile provider. We're planning to fill the gap. We're confident we'll reach our ambitious target in the Irish market."