Coveney slams ‘confusing’ mobile rates for consumers


8 Jun 2004

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Ireland’s three mobile providers have 31 different tariff schemes, Fine Gael communications spokesman Simon Coveney claimed this morning, which is causing confusion amongst consumers and preventing them from shopping around because of the complexity of offers available.

Coveney said that Fine Gael’s consumer advocacy website www.ripoff.ie has received dozens of complaints about mobile phone charges and particularly the confusing array of offers available.

“The three mobile phone operators currently offer over thirty packages, based on pre-paid or post paid, free minutes, free texts, free calls at certain times and free calls to certain numbers.

“The effect of having such a huge variety of paying options is that the consumer cannot readily identify the best option for their circumstances. The result is that there is a resistance to customers shopping around because of the complexity of the offers,” Coveney argued.

Coveney called on ComReg to move to help consumers through the confusing fog of offers. “Following appropriate research on mobile phone usage, ComReg should require operators to publish, along with their individual packages, a typical user price (TUP).

“The TUP would indicate how much a typical ‘low’, ‘medium’ or ‘high’ user (as defined by ComReg) would pay. The system would work in a similar way to the operation of the average percentage rate (APR) for financial products,” he said.

By John Kennedy