BT Ireland pulls out of consumer biz, Vodafone takes customers

BT Ireland and Vodafone today confirmed that BT Ireland is moving their consumer division to Vodafone while they will remain working on what is their core businesses these days, which is infrastructure and managing network builds and networks for other companies.

Details from the press release:
BT will transfer its consumer and small business broadband and voice customer base to Vodafone and will also provide wholesale network services to underpin Vodafone’s business over a seven-year period.

Agreement positions Vodafone as the clear no 2 in the fixed market with over 170,000 fixed customers and a 15% market share of the fixed broadband market

Over 84,000 consumers and 3,000 small businesses currently with BT will transfer to Vodafone over the next several months. (Small businesses are those with 6 telephone lines or less)

BT plans to unbundle another 58 exchanges in Ireland

A small number of BT employees are expected to transition to Vodafone under the terms of the agreement.

The Irish Times had this story last Saturday and some details from it include:

The transfer would involve BT’s residential fixed-line customers and broadband subscribers. The company has a 13 per cent share of the fixed-line market and a 9 per cent share of broadband, according to the latest statistics from ComReg.

BT’s consumer business accounts for just 6 per cent of revenues but delivered a “strong set of results”, according to the British company at the publication of its full-year results in May.

It’s long been rumoured that BT Ireland would pull out of consumer and this deal is comfortable for them, their customers and for Vodafone.

BT Ireland are very good at building and running networks. Infrastructure and services is what makes them nearly all the money in Ireland. Despite trying the consumer area and merging Esat Clear, Oceanfree and IOL into a consumer division, they never made huge inroads. It didn’t help that the margins for these services are absolutely tiny, almost zero, and there have been years of constant battles with eircom and the regulator to get better prices and probably more importantly, better switching provisions for potential customers. I’m sure there’s huge relief now in BT Ireland.

It’ll be interesting to see how Vodafone runs with this now as Perlico under the Vodafone ownership still appeared to be very independent. Will BT Ireland broadband packages remain unchanged, will Vodafone and Perlico packages change to be the same as BT Ireland ones?

Some questions and answers too:

Will any jobs be lost with the moving and merging of the BT consumer operations with Vodafone?
No – all Rep of Ireland employees working in the transferring businesses will transfer across to Vodafone under the TUPE process.

Will BT Ireland still unbundle exchanges and if yes and manage them or will Voda do this in future, if BT then will Vodafone be the one reselling the services exclusively or will BT offer them to others?
BT will be unbundling and managing up to 58 new exchanges (to add to the current 22), offering a competitive wholesale platform for the first time in the Irish marketplace, which covers up to two thirds of the available broadband lines.

How long will the BT packages customers are on, be honoured for?
Nothing will change for BT’s customer base in the short to medium term – BT and Vodafone will be managing a smooth transition of the base over the coming months, enabling an improved portfolio of converged products and services to these customers.

19 Responses to “BT Ireland pulls out of consumer biz, Vodafone takes customers”

  1. Barry Hand says:

    I’ve been a BT customer on/off for last 4 years, and found their DSL to have good speeds and a decent price as they have subsidised line rental on their packages.

    Issues surrounding their infamous billing problems haven’t cropped up with me, but if they do start to do a home BB + mobile bundle, that’s something I’d be quite comfortable with. Have to say the tech support were fairly good as well.

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I thought Perlico was reselling eircom dsl, where BT do have some access to exchanges.

  2. dahamsta says:

    Their dire CS might be a slight factor in their failure too, including the worst billing system I’ve ever come across, which they were never able to fix. Last I looked I was still in their system several years after leaving them, despite data protection requests. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  3. So how does this all fair for the customers pockets? Is the pricing at vodafone similar to that of BT?

  4. I’m guessing that last weeks ComReg final report into the dispute between Eircom and BT in relation to Eircom’s failure to provide Leased Line Termination segments unconditionally had something to do with this development?

  5. Joe Raferty says:

    best offer for everyone, for us customer we will have free calls to Voda and same price i take that thanks very much as mobile calls is just ripe off !

    i sure we will get one bill for mobilephone and dsl and line rental, the only thing is line rental so expensive….Eircom are f’cker ripp us off for the last 50 years…like ebs or gov or tax…

  6. Ronan says:

    @ Donagh: Possibly, but there is a realisation in the market that ComReg are not stepping up to the plate. The substance of the dispute was to do with Co-location and Ethernet services, so a combination of issues.

    I’ve been trying to estimate how much the business was sold for. The ledger and the base would have been valued at somewhere around 1/3 and of course that would have to factor in aged debtors and indeed the costs of acquisition. I imagine this has been in train for some time.

    It remains to be seen if it is a bad thing. For BT I think it is a good thing and will allow them make some decent downsizing decisions (sorry for the doom and gloom).

    Similar deals are going on elsewhere in the EU.

    I am most interest now to also see whether or not Voda pump some decent resource into the Regulatory arena for fixed services.

    As it stands they (VF) face enforced mobile rate erosion, so this move will keep revenues alive with ratcheting margins over time.

    But what the hell would I know 😉

  7. Ronan says:

    1/3 should read ratio of 1:3.

  8. lisadom says:

    I would be in the ratio of people who spit on the ground at the sound of BT and their Customer Service. They are the people who made NTL look like Singapore Airlines First Class

    I did happen to like Vodaphone – (before switching to o2 because of their support for Irish Autism) so it can only mean an improvement hopefully for any poor soul stuck in a BT contract.


  9. lorna says:

    I have been with BT for many years. I am delighted with their service. I have a package that include national calls, calls to Britain and broadband for 47 Euro inc VAT and they charge the price of a local call for any technical problem. I hope that vodafone continue with the same package, if not I’ll go back to Eircom. I don’t like the idea of Perlico – their small print is disappointed.

  10. Mike Afford says:

    I have been a BT Ireland customer for a year or two now. I have found their customer service to be poor, and their response to queries and complaints to be utterly shambolic. Even the bills need to be checked for mistakes.

    Any call to BT’s technical support or customer care has to followed up at least three or four times before any action is taken at all. And only then if you’re very very lucky.

    My broadband speed tonight is currently ONE TENTH of what I’m paying for, and has never EVER reached even a HALF of their promised speed. Yeah, I know it’s ‘UP TO’ 6 Mb/s but less than 1 frankly taking the p…


  11. Jim Hamilton says:

    I have been a long time customer of BT and had a very good service for BB + phone package.
    Service has been good and no billing problems. Line fault was dealth with promptly, in fact to my surprise Eircom turned up the same day as reported. !
    Hope Vodafone keep similar package preferably with mobile add on.

  12. Bally Saints says:

    BT Ireland should close shop and leave the country

  13. Grace williams says:

    BT is a rip off they should consider the poor, there is no money to waste on landlines calls. they over charge there customers

  14. Anon says:

    As a current Broadband Tech Support agent, I am surprised to see comments here about poor service when people like myself strive to provide the best service possible on a network controlled by another provider.
    As for Damiens 1st question, I’m afraid his answer is incorrect.
    Existing BT Ireland employees have already been transferred to Vodafone, the remaining staff that are managing those customers that have yet to migrate to Vodafone are contracted staff. Some of these contractors have worked harder than the permanent staff, in hope to be taken on permanent by BT or now, Vodafone.
    This is not the case and unfortunately, approximately 15 hard working people, that continue to be professional and take the flack for any issues caused by the migration, will loose their jobs at the end of February.

    As a Technical Advisor, working in Telecoms for a number of years, the merger of BT Ireland and Vodafone is a fantastic more for Ireland.
    This will enable both companies to provide a better service and improve the current network.

    Irelands geological location should give the country the best of technologies from both the US and Europe.
    Why are we letting a company such a Eircom, railroad us for so long.
    What is the government doing to resovle this debacle?

    A reliable internet access for all is essential for recovery, come on guys, lets fix this problem. It isn’t that difficult, less populated and technically advanced countries have managed to do it.

  15. My answer is not incorrect as it was not my answer.

  16. David says:

    Quote Anon: “As a Technical Advisor, working in Telecoms for a number of years, the merger of BT Ireland and Vodafone is a fantastic more for Ireland.
    This will enable both companies to provide a better service and improve the current network.”

    Vodafone are certainly not doing a very good job at providing a reliable service at the minute. As a previous customer of BT, for years I have had a great broadband service with them, that all changed over a month ago when I migrated over to Vodafone.

    Since migrating to Vodafone I have seen my once stable and reliable 8MB service downgraded to 7MB, yet in a letter all of us BT customers received from Vodafone about the oncoming migration it states that “you won’t notice any interruption to your service”. Well that was just the start of the lies and problems.

    Like many other previous BT customers I have had numerous problems, be it from speed issues, high pings, drop-outs to all of the issues mentioned, and then on top of that some of their Customer Care and Tech Support team members have not got a clue, one support person did not know what Windows 7 was, “my 8 year old son knows what it is as he uses it in school”.

    Before the switch over, as a customer with BT I had a very stable and reliable 8MB service, with speeds of 5.5MB – 6MB from afternoon till late evening and 6.5MB+ from late evening till the afternoon of the following day with pings ranging from between 30 – 60ms. In the short space of time I have been with Vodafone I have seen my speeds in the evening drop to as low as 0.5MB, pings up in the thousands to no internet at all. One would imagine that I would be getting the same service that I had with BT as I’m on the same line that for over a year has provided me with a perfect 8MB service.

    The other thing that happen to me and a contradiction to the letter I mentioned above was my contention ratio that was 12:1 with BT had jumped to 48:1 with Vodafone. I questioned TS about the change in ratio, at first TS said this was correct and that all Options from 1 – 3 with BT were on 48:1, I soon got put back on 12:1 when they knew I was someone that knew as much or if not more about broadband than themselves. Things worked fine after this for a few days, I was getting speeds of 6.5MB – 7MB, pings from 20 to 57ms which was great. It was clear that in my case traffic / on contention of 48:1 was an issue and lowering the contention rate worked, but that all changed with the release of their new 24MB, I’m now back to square one, very low speeds in the evenings, high pings to no internet at all.

    A week later Vodafone post on their own forum and what most of us had been already telling them, that upgrades with Vodafone equipment were needed to handle the recent increase in bandwidth usage from migrating BT customers and new users. For most of us, we now have to wait 13 weeks, maybe more to see our service return to normal.

    I have two questions for Vodafone:

    1. Why weren’t these upgrades done before hand, surely Vodafone’s technical team in charge of foreseeing the oncoming migration would of known that the current equipment was not up for the task.

    2. Are effected customers going to be refunded / discounted on their bills for a service Vodafone now acknowledge not to be fit for the purpose of supply advertised speeds to customers. And don’t try to pull the one “speeds up to”, you can’t honestly turn round and say to the many customers out there that speeds of 0.5MB – 2MB can be classed as up to 7MB, how could you even class 0.5MB to just over 1MB as “speeds up to 3MB”, 0.5MB isn’t even broadband.

  17. michael o'connor says:

    we were a BT Customer and were taken over bby Vodaphone.Crazy nightmare ever since.No Incoming caller ID.We have phoned every single day for 30 days to request this be activated.This was never done.They say it is a Technical Problem and are unable to resolve.this has a stressful effect on our 3 lines.Vodaphone done care.Totally unhelpful.Vodaphone landlines pacgages sound competitive but CLI Caller ID Wont Work.Dont know what to do.Anyone with Advice Please…

  18. Tom says:

    Did anybody noticed the crazy phone charges price increase after the switch from BT to Vodafone?

    I used to pay about 8c/m for land line call in Europe, now it is 35c/m

    What bad deal for residential customers.

  19. Paul says:

    I was not sure about VF but then it changed I have been with BT since the start of BB I had some problems as expected with a new service but all was gonig well till VF took over.
    I was happy enough when I got a letter saying you will have the same package and nothign will be different when you change over to VF.
    Then just before the change over so you have no real choice a new letter comes along saying well we are going to change your package and you can just lump it.
    They change a unlimited download account to 100 gigs and compensate me with €2 yet if i want to download more than 100 gigs then they will charge me.
    Frequent disconnections I complained and put fault on line 1 year later i finaly get a slightly higher snr even thought i live across from the exchange less than 350 meters away i have a line attentuation of 28 which means I am on a faulty line or on a connection that is 2km away from the exchange.

    since complaining about dropping they have sorted that out but I cannot talk on skype or play games over the internet.

    There is a constant conection problem when I use skype you can hear the person then it just breaks up and fizzles out and dies and i get disconnected some times I can talk for 30 with constant breaking up of the connection and what sounds like a alien on the other end of the call.

    I have also added there 10gig backup service to my account to backup my important information but I cannot get an account the customer support takes my username and password and activation key and then thats the last I hear from them.
    This is on the forum od VF so its not like they cannot see this post as 2 Mods have answered to take my details and then cant get the problem solved so forget about me.
    I bump the thread up to the top every few days and even said i would complain to comreg about this if its not sorted out.
    The mods just do not answer BT support was just as bad but I know what I am doing on a pc and the internet I have been online over 12 years and fixed every problem under the sun if its my side.


    I go online to there MY Hme on vodafone go to support to make a ticket you can’t !
    I have also been asked to change browser by vodafone because there froum does not work with IE8 instead of them fixing the free software script they use as a forum phpBB they want to make there customers use another browser to fix the software problems.

    With a cmpany such as this the first thing they should do is have a website developed by their own team and updated if they do not want to get hacked.

    pbpBB is notorious for getting hacked because its a free software forum.
    Thinking of disconnecting from vodafone because I am sick of the vodafone bad service I pay good money for.