So today ComReg launches Callcosts.ie a website for Irish consumers to check mobile costs. I was asked by one or two journalists for comments on it. Dermott Jewell was on TodayFM last night saying how fantastic the site is as he got a preview. Dermott is also on the ComReg Consumer Panel.
I’ve written about my views on telecom prices in Ireland already. A website is a good idea to help people check tariffs besides having to go to 4 different sites to compare and contrast. However, this “shop around” excuse that people are given is to be quite blunt – bollox. The mobile companies are in a cosy cartel and a website which can only be reached by at most half of the population will not make significant impact. This was put to Jewell last night and he seemed to justify it by saying that at least people will know about the high prices. Right, like we don’t read our bills or go to the local shop and pay out on credit every day.
Here is a comparison of EU countries from a recent ComReg report. Ignore the Switzerland red herring, stuck in there to make Ireland look slightly better. Switzerland is not in the EU.
If you compare Ireland to the EU average we are €17 a month more expensive. €17! A website ain’t going to bring that down. Regulation might. Better and stronger regulation. So while the site is a very good idea, the fact that it is supported by all the mobile companies should start to make you go hmmmm.
Funny thing is the site is being launched by Eddie Hobbs, I wonder what he’ll have to say about the telecoms market in Ireland and how it’s regulated? I also wonder can the website be accessed via WAP, GPRS and 3G?