Vodafone to cut roaming costs and boost 4G speeds
Vodafone is to cut the cost of roaming and boost 4G speeds after announcing a €60m investment that will result in 200 new Dublin sales jobs.
The mobile operator is to increase the amount of data available on its roaming packages from 200MB to 500MB per day in a move that will also apply to pre-pay users.
Vodafone's roaming initiative comes as the EU prepares to phase out roaming rates from April 2016. By June 2017, all additional roaming tariffs will be outlawed within the EU.
The operator is also set to extend the rollout of faster mobile 4G services in the form of so-called '4G+' and '4G++' speeds.
The extra speed, which Vodafone says will deliver consistent mobile data speeds of between 30Mbs and 50Mbs, are due partly to further spectrum development by the mobile operator. 4G+ and 4G++ will be rolled out first in Irish cities, according to the operator.
An Irish Independent survey last month found that Vodafone's 4G service averages 30Mbs around Dublin with top speeds recorded of 60Mbs in one northside location.
The company says that it now has 90pc 4G coverage by population in Ireland, rising to 94pc by October of this year.
The roaming and 4G initiatives come as Vodafone has announced a new €60m European sales centre in the Dublin suburb of Carrickmines with the promise of 200 jobs by the end of 2015.
The centre has been earmarked to provide "specialist sales capability" to business customers in Ireland, the Netherlands and Britain.
"Ireland was chosen ahead of other countries for this investment," said Anne O'Leary, chief executive of Vodafone Ireland.
"And I hope it's not too long before I'm back with news about more job announcements and projects."
She said Vodafone employs almost 2,000 people "directly and indirectly" in Ireland.
"This €60m investment further demonstrates Vodafone's ongoing and long term commitment to developing our business in Ireland," said O'Leary.
"The selection by Vodafone of Ireland as a location for this European sales centre also demonstrates Ireland's standing in Europe in terms of availability of highly skilled people for these emerging and developing roles.
"In addition, the centre will bring the latest in innovation including advanced sales tools and data analytics to determine customer needs and attitudes."
O'Leary said that recruitment for the new jobs is already under way and employees will "gain access to internationally recognised business analytics and sales training" to provide "career development opportunities" across Vodafone operating companies.
"Vodafone's selection of Carrickmines as the principal location for its new European sales centre underpins the strength of the telecommunications sector in this country," said Communications Minister Alex White.
"The 200 additional roles that are being created as a result of this €60m investment are quality jobs, which will contribute to Ireland's strengthening recovery.
"Investments like this have put Irish telecommunications at the cutting edge of global developments."
At present, EU roaming charges are capped at 20 cents per megabyte of data, 6 cents per text message and 19 cents per calling minute.
A partial roaming reduction will occur in April 2016, when rates will be reduced by 75pc.