Thursday 19 July 2018

Struggling iD Mobile to wind down after losses

Customers were told they have 30 days to find another provider.. Stock photo: PA
Customers were told they have 30 days to find another provider.. Stock photo: PA
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Mobile operator iD Mobile Ireland has been placed in provisional liquidation, with its 40,000 customers told that they have 30 days to find another provider.

The loss-making budget operator, owned by Dixons Carphone Ireland, has been unable to find a buyer over the last 12 months as would-be investors shied away from what has become a difficult market for small players.

The company has invested over €20m in trying to compete with Vodafone, Three, Eir and Tesco Mobile, which dominate the Irish mobile market with some 95pc of subscriptions.

It had targeted a return of 250,000 customers, the equivalent of around 6pc of the market. However, it lagged rivals on some of the top smartphone releases and found it difficult to compete with existing players.

"Despite a compelling consumer mobile proposition in an increasingly competitive mobile market, iD Mobile was unable to achieve scale against established operators and its losses became unsustainable," a spokesman said.

Tom Murray from Friel Stafford has been appointed as provisional liquidator to take over the day-to-day operations of iD Mobile and implement its winding-down period.

Mr Murray said that those on bill pay contracts with subsidised handsets will continue to be charged for them in accordance with the initial contract, although he could not say who exactly might be collecting the payments.

The iD Mobile division of Dixons Carphone employs 17 people in the company's Santry head office. Redundancy packages have been offered, according to a spokesman, who also said that some might find alternative roles within the group.

The company was one of two mobile operators set up in the wake of Three's takeover of O2 Ireland. The European Commission only sanctioned the Three-O2 deal if Three made provision for two new operators with favourable network facilities.

Would-be purchasers of the mobile operator, such as Sky and Virgin, were discouraged due to its low customer numbers and because favourable terms on Three's network were set to end soon.

Customers of iD Mobile are now being contacted by text, letter and email to be told that their service will end after the next 30 days.

The firm's sister network, iD UK, has 800,000 customers.

Irish Independent

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