Friday 15 November 2019

New no-frills mobile operator looks set to spark price war

Service: Blathnaid Treacy helped launch the new GoMo operator. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Service: Blathnaid Treacy helped launch the new GoMo operator. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

A new no-frills mobile operator looks set to spark a price war among networks.

The new operator, GoMo, will offer 80GB of data as well as all calls and texts for €10 per month, less than half the cost of its nearest rival.

Launched as a 'virtual' operator by Eir, it will also allow 10GB of EU roaming data, including all calls and texts.

GoMo will use Eir's 4G network but will be treated as a separate operator with separate billing systems and customer support.

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It will not sell any phones, just SIM cards.

It is an aggressive pricing move from Eir, which will undercut all other operators in the market, including its own existing Eir Mobile service.

Also 80GB is more than Three's 'all you can eat' limit of 60GB, which costs from €30 per month.

However, the new 'virtual' operator will have no stores, nor will it be supported by Eir's current customer service. It will all be managed separately online with little or no phone support.

Eir executives say there will be no restrictions on using the service as a cut-price broadband hotspot. However, after the 80GB monthly data limit is reached, the data speeds will slow down.

New customers can transfer their existing mobile number onto the new service online.

However, there is a one-off €10 connection charge. This will also apply if a customer quits or pauses the service and rejoins it, meaning there is no continued customer relationship or 'reactivation' of an account.

The move comes as Irish operators prepare to roll out their 5G mobile networks, which will provide much faster speeds for accessing data and video services such as Netflix.

Vodafone turned its 5G service on last month, with Eir and Three set to follow before the end of the year.

A spokesman for Eir said there was no decision yet on whether the new GoMo network will have immediate access to Eir's 5G speeds when launched.

The service is promising average top speeds on 4G of 10Mbs, although executives say there will be no difference between 3G and 4G speeds on Eir or GoMo.

Last month, Ireland's telecoms regulator released test results showing an average speed of 26Mbs on Eir's 4G network, ahead of Three (21Mbs) but behind Vodafone (32Mbs). However, Comreg's testing is limited to cities and primary roads throughout the country, instead of rural areas.

Recent attempts to launch mobile operators in Ireland have met with mixed success. While Virgin Media has gained 92,000 mobile customers in its first four years here, iD Mobile went bust last year after only winning 40,000 customers.

The move is the first of two big launches for Eir this week. Tomorrow, the company is expected to launch a revamped TV service based on a new set-top box.

Irish Independent

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