– Thoughts

So today ComReg launches 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.

Click to enlarge.
EU Mobile Prices

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?

8 Responses to “ – Thoughts”

  1. Jack says:

    Eddie Hobbs, big hands, small pockets ….sore thumbs from tex’ing.

  2. Wulfbeorn says:

    “Regulation might. Better and stronger regulation.”

    Would you consider that deregulation might be the answer?

  3. Damien says:

    I have considered it. How would you see deregulation as a means of bringing down prices?

  4. Wulfbeorn says:

    The tried and tested way: competition. Government has no business controlling mobile phone licenses: if it sold them all off as soon as possible, we would have more than enough choice.

  5. Johnie says:

    Great that ComReg now has launched to help consumers with mobile price comparisons. The service seems to be very accurate and comprehensive.

    Will be interesting to follow the development and launch of the services for fixed telephony, broadband and bundled services.

    Does anyone know if they are to be launched in January 2006? Presumably the development is already completed by EasyChange ( and has reached a testing phase. Can anyone confirm?

  6. Damien says:

    What I can confirm Johnie is the IP address you come from is from a Swedish company. Your email is a Swedish address and that website you link to is Swedish though the domain is registered to someone in France. Are you linked to the development of the ComReg CallCosts website? You posted the exact same message on and I’m betting you did the same in other locations.

    There are less insidious methods to market your company’s work. I’m leaving your post now but I think I’ll have some fun at your employer’s expense later.

    Ursäkta mig utifall att jag tar fel men det verkar som att du marknadsför ditt eget företag

  7. Ed Byrne says:

    I also think the de-regulation as opposed to increased regulation is the key. Regulating it may work in the short term, but simple ‘supply and demand’ economics would be better.

    Open the market up and hopefully a flood of new mobile carriers would arrive. Once that happens O2 and Vodafone are on the defensive to hold market share, and the newbies will take a net loss for the first few years to establish themselves.

    I see that type of market ‘regulation’ being more effective for consumers. Of course, if no carriers could justify the expense of setting up here, then that plan is gone!

  8. Paul says:

    I do not think deregulation is the key. Technology such as GSM costs alot of money to set-up. There are also the major barriers to entry to the market such as An Bord Pleanala and An Taisce who will object to even more masts being erects for telecommunications. Is there manyway that existing operators could be forced to open up their networks at a price to allow competitors or new companies to buy hours or access time on their network…similar to fixed price contracts in the oil and gas industry?