Ireland’s postal operator An Post has launched a new €2m mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) called Postfone, promising ‘any network, any time’ rates of 20 cents per minute and nine cent texts.
The move will add a new operator to a market that already has four established network providers and an MVNO that is a joint venture between O2 and Tesco.
The question going forward will be whether the Irish market with five operators effectively competing for share of a relatively small market can be sustained. Postfone is targeting a 5pc market share in Ireland’s busy mobile marketplace.
An Post’s €2m-plus investment in Postfone, an MVNO with Vodafone, is the latest addition to the company’s range of financial and communications products and follows last week’s announcement of its deal to provide cash banking services for National Irish Bank customers.
“We love to talk. Irish people have taken to mobile technology like few countries around the world,” said the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan TD. “I welcome this innovation from An Post, which adds another element to their growing offerings to Irish consumers.
“As a flagship semi-state company with real national reach, An Post has continued to evolve and respond to our changing communications needs. I wish them well in this venture,” Ryan said.
Postfone coming to 300 post offices
Postfone will come on stream at 300 post offices over the summer months, with heavy marketing emphasis on its no-frills, simple and straightforward rates; easy accessibility six days a week and personal hands-on service for customers wishing to buy a phone, transfer from their existing operator or better manage their credit.
An Post chief executive Donal Connell said: “Postfone is great news for Irish mobile users. We’re offering customers superb call and text rates in a local, friendly and familiar environment.
“We’ll provide personal assistance with every aspect of buying a phone and managing mobile phone costs at 300 post offices around the country. Our strategy is to broaden out our revenue base by investing in those areas from which we can drive more business and more profit. This is the way forward for An Post and for our retail network.”
An Post will be targeting the 1.7 million customers who visit a post office every week to access mail, communications and financial services, including bill payments, banking and State Savings. Top ups will be available at all post offices and Postpoint outlets and online at www.postfone.ie.
“Postfone’s Gary Finnerty explained: “Switching to Postfone does not involve any change of number; customers keep their own mobile number. There’s a lot of competition in this market and we believe our simple, easy-to-use service perfectly caters for those seeking a reliable and trusted mobile provider offering unbeatable value.
“A single tariff applies to all networks at all times and Postfone’s range of easy to use handsets offers the latest features at lower prices. We’re offering great incentives to switch over to Postfone and it’s easy to do. Irish mobile users now have a real alternative to the old, established networks,” Finnerty said.