Monday, December 31, 2007

It's expensive to talk in Ireland!

Comreg (this is the state body that regulates the communication sector)published a report last this week which showed that Irish consumers generate significantly higher revenue per month compared to consumers across the EU. This report shows that the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) for mobile phones per month was €44.66 in Ireland. The revenues per user here are way ahead of those in other EU countries, the next is France where the ARPU is €34.33 and the lowest is Germany at €19.15. The EU average is €27 per month.

Claims by the mobile phone industry that Irish consumers pay more because we use and speak more are unfounded on the basis that the French speak more but pay a lot less. We are supposed to have competition with 4 providers now, but it seems that once again the Irish consumer is considered easy picking for companies who it appears charge a lot less in other jurisdictions. I would have thought also that increase penetration, there are now 4.9million mobiles in circulation and with new technology costs should be coming down a lot more. In the January 2006 edition of Consumer Choice it was noted that only 39% of consumers felt they were getting value for money from their mobile network. I am sure not much has changed.

In my capacity as Chair of CAI, I called on Comreg to call in the mobile phone operators and insist on a plan of action to reduce costs to consumers. There is a precedent here in that earlier this year the EU Commission threatened to impose price caps unless mobile phone operators starting reducing the cost of roaming. This is an issue CAI will be following up with Comreg and the Government.