Meteor cuts call charges

24 Aug 2004

Meteor has cut its prepay call tariffs in a bid to reinforce its positioning as Ireland’s best-value mobile operator. Despite its rapid growth in the past two quarters, Meteor has still only a 6pc share of the Irish mobile market and is hoping the that two new tariff offerings will encourage more mobile users to switch networks.

The first new offering, Leisure Time Plus, is geared towards evening and weekend users with calls costing 13c per minute at those times and 40c between 8am and 6pm weekdays. Voicemail is free and text messages cost 9c.

The other new tariff, called Anytime Plus, offers a single rate of 20c per minute for daytime and evening calls to Meteor numbers, other networks and landlines. Again, voicemail is free and texts cost 9c.

Anytime Plus is the only prepay tariff on any network that does not distinguish between peak and off-peak calls. For example O2’s ‘Early Bird’ Speakeasy customers pay 15c per minute during peak hours and 55c off-peak for calls to other O2 subscribers and 19c and 63c respectively for calls to the other networks, while Vodafone’s Ready-to-Go users under the ‘Work & Leisure’ plan pay 32c peak and 19c off-peak for calls to Vodafone users and 45c for both peak and off-peak calls to other networks.

Since mobile number portability was introduced in July 2003, allowing users to switch networks while keeping their numbers, Meteor has gradually been gaining market share on its rivals, particularly at the prepay end of the market. For example, Meteor added 22,900 customers during the second quarter 2004 compared with Vodafone’s 18,000 new customers.

Meteor also recently signed a national roaming deal with O2 that allows Meteor customers to make calls in a number of remote locations where it does not have its own network coverage. This agreement, which was warmly welcomed by ComReg and a number of industry lobby groups, is expected to further strengthen Meteor’s hand as it seeks to win converts to its ‘value’ offering.

By Brian Skelly