Communications regulator ComReg issued a statement on Friday responding to what it said are “a number of comments made in relation to ComReg’s quarterly report” issued this week. The main points of the statement were: since market liberalisation, telecommunications prices have decreased compared to the Consumer Price Index; based on IBEC figures, businesses are more concerned with energy, transport and waste costs than with telecoms costs; and Ireland is in a “relatively good position” for mobile phone prices at 7 out of 19 for post-paid, and 9 out of 19 for pre-paid. ComReg said it “strongly refutes” any charge that it is selective in presenting its pricing data which comes from researchers at Teligen and is OECD-approved.
Some brazen pup was in Metro, SiliconRepublic, Examiner, and on Newstalk, TodayFM, 5-7 Live talking about the sky-high telecoms prices in Ireland and that ComReg have been only selectively quoting figures and not informing consumers to the extent of the high prices in Ireland.
ComReg claim we are 6th cheapest and that we talk more so our bills are higher. Not true. Using a “composite basket for mobile” designed by the OECD, a report from the EU shows we are near the very top of the pricing tables.
Pg 49 50 and 51 of this EU report(large pdf file) breaks the mobile baskets into three types.: light, medium and heavy usage.
For low usage we are 4th most expensive country, for medium usage we are 3rd most expensive and for heavy usage we are 4th most expensive.
The structure of these baskets:
â€¢ Low usage basket with:
25 outgoing calls per month + 30 SMS messages
42% of calls are to fixed line phones, 58% to mobile phones
â€¢ Medium usage basket with:
75 outgoing calls per month + 35 SMS messages
36% of calls are to fixed line phones, 64% to mobile phones
â€¢ High usage basket with:
150 outgoing calls per month + 42 SMS messages
40% of calls are to fixed line phones, 60% to mobile phones
Each basket also has a unique definition of time of day distribution and call duration, and includes the monthly rental, and any registration charges distributed over 3 years.
When it comes to line rental charges ComReg said to day that it was relatively ok. We are now €9 a month more expensive than the EU average. We are €24.20 a month. Luxembourg is the second most expensive country yet is six euros cheaper a month. The EU average has decreased and the scary thing is we are due for another line rental hike. ComReg have blamed eircom AND the rural population for such prices. Surely Northern Ireland would have a price like ours too then or any of the Scandanavian countries? But they don’t.
ComReg will mention national calls being some of the cheapest in the EU. They spin it like this is overall landline pricing. That’s only one part of a phonebill. There’s line rental, local calls and calls to mobiles. The OECD designed “composite basket” includes all these various prices and throws in x local calls y national calls z mobile calls per month.
Using this model from the EU shows that Ireland is second most expensive for landline bills. Again see that EU report I mentioned.
ComReg claim usage has doubled. Yeah but usage in other places as tripled. So? Double of 1 is the same as 1/10th of 10. Given the slower growth rate but a much higher usage rate in other countries, it means we are actually slipping in some tables. Don’t take my word for it. Talk to Forfas. A report yesterday from them stated.
At the end of Q2 2005, Ireland ranked 25th of 32 countries for broadband take-up. When the comparator group is limited to the 21 countries benchmarked in the 2004 study, Ireland’s position had actually deteriorated, from 18th out of 21 in 2004 to 19th out of 21 in 2005.
It was very comical when they point blank refused to come on air on Newstalk but came on air on TodayFM with the stipulation that they would not engage with said brazen pup. It was funnier again when Matt Cooper stated their unwillingness to engage. This is the regulator who are meant to be looking after the consumer according to their charter. The brazen pup said they’re more of a poodle than a telecoms watchdog.
ComReg need to removed and replaced by people who know what they’re doing. Fire all the commissioners and directors. But why would a Minister do that when he can slyly blame them for his bad policies?