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Irish businesses pay 300pc more for mobile


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Irish business mobile customers pay almost three times as much as their UK counterparts for the same mobile phone services, according to new figures from Ireland's telecoms regulator.

The figures suggest that for an "average" monthly usage of 300 calls, 225 texts and 1GB of data, Irish business customer are billed €42.50 per month compared to €15.25 for UK business customers. The figures apply to customers using the same mobile operators on both sides of the border.

The statistics, contained in Comreg's latest Quarterly telecoms report, also show that business customers here are paying more than double what non-business users pay, for very little extra capacity.

The regulator revealed that non-business billpay customers pay €19.13 per month for twice the data allowance of €42.50 business customers, falling short 85 texts and 200 calls per month.

Overall, the new figures show that Irish business mobile bills are 38pc dearer than the EU average cost while Irish non-business mobile bills are between 15pc and 18pc cheaper than the EU average.

The figures are likely to sound a warning bell to financial controllers in Irish businesses, who may not be aware of the extent to which mobile bills outside corporate plans have come down in recent years.

According to Comreg, there are 690,000 business mobile subscribers in Ireland, not including additional mobile broadband subscriptions.

Neither of the two new mobile operators entering the Irish market, iD and Virgin Media (formerly UPC), are likely to cater for business customers.

Mobile operator executives say that business customers sometimes accrue additional benefits not measured in the Comreg figures, such as account managers and additional billing organisation services. They also say that larger business customers often negotiate "bespoke" packages that may be cheaper than published billing rates.

The Comreg statistics show that mobile operators have largely stemmed the tide of plummeting monthly revenues, with the key monthly 'average revenue per user' (Arpu) figure stabilising at €24.75 per month, down just 63 cents on the same time last year. Five years ago, Irish Arpus were above €40.

Meanwhile, the Comreg figures indicate that Tesco Mobile gained most customers over the last year, up 73,000 subscriptions or 1.5pc market share. The virtual operator now has 6.4pc of the Irish market. Vodafone shed more customers than rivals, down 63,000 subscriptions (1.3pc) to 38.5pc. Vodafone remains the Irish market's largest mobile operator with the biggest share of revenue, at 43pc.

3 Ireland is marginally down in customers and revenue share, while Meteor is slightly up in both metrics.

Irish Independent