Wednesday 17 October 2018

40,000 iD Mobile customers told their service ends in 30 days as company winds down

Stock Image: Getty Images
Stock Image: Getty Images
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

40,000 iD Mobile customers have been told they have 30 days to find another mobile operator, as iD Mobile is to be wound down.

The loss-making operator, owned by Dixons Carphone Ireland, has been unable to find a buyer over the last 12 months and has now been placed into liquidation.

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

Bill-pay customers won’t receive any more bills after that, while it’s not clear how long pre-paid credit will last.

The winding down of iD Mobile shows how difficult it is for a newcomer to build a mobile operation in a country dominated by four networks (Vodafone, Three, Eir and Tesco Mobile).

Some €30m was invested in getting iD Mobile off the ground, to little return.

Would-be purchasers of the mobile operator were discouraged due to favourable terms on Three’s network ending soon.

iD Mobile 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.

“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.

This provisional liquidation process prevents the business from having to cease trading immediately. Dixons Carphone is understood to be providing “significant funding” to the provisional liquidator to keep paying iD Mobile’s suppliers for the services they provide during the 30-day period.

“The expert team at Carphone Warehouse’s 82 stores nationwide is available to assist customers in choosing a network that’s right for them, and to move customers to their chosen operator,” said a spokesman. “As a gesture of goodwill, any iD Mobile customer signing up to a new network in Carphone Warehouse over the next 30 days will receive €20 to spend in-store at the time of switching.”

While iD Mobile in Ireland has 40,000 customers, its UK sister network, iD UK, has almost 800,000 customers.

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