Vodafone to hike internet costs by up to €60 a year
TELECOMS company Vodafone is to increase the price of some of its broadband packages for householders and businesses from the start of March.
It follows price rises from rivals Eircom and UPC.
The Vodafone hikes will cost families between €36 and €60 more a year, but not all plans are going up. Packages introduced last year are not going up.
Its top plan, Home Unlimited, will be reduced in price by €5 a month to €55.
Vodafone lost 101,000 mobile phone customers in the last 12 months, according to its latest financial report.
Now it says that some existing fixed-line customers, and all new customers who sign up from March 1 next, will have to pay more.
Basic plan, the Simply Broadband package, will go up by €3 to €38 a month. But the company says it is providing an unlimited data allowance on the Simply Broadband offering.
And the telecoms group said that householders on legacy broadband and call packages that are going up can sign up for newer, better-value plans with it before March 1 to escape the rises.
Older business tariffs will go up between €3 and €5 a month, but business offering Office Value and Office Control packages are unaffected.
The changes in price mean the telecoms provider is breaking the terms of its contacts with customers. This gives them the option to break out of contacts with no financial penalties, consumer experts said.
Last month, Eircom said it was hitting around 650,000 of its customers with bill rises of between €60 and €100 a year from mid-April.
That came after UPC said it was charging up to €100 more a year for its bundles of broadband, television and phones services.
Vodafone Ireland's Ciaran Barrett defended the price hikes.
He said: "The increases are the result of increased costs of providing the service to customers.
"Vodafone Ireland offers the best value voice and fixed broadband plans in the market with the best speeds currently availabl e."
He said that the company was seeing a rise in the numbers on fixed broadband and landline call packages.
Vodafone Ireland is planning a new TV service that aims to go head-to-head with UPC, Sky and Eircom in Ireland.
The mobile provider has held discussions with several industry players, including Sky, and trials begin before the summer.