Meteor storms into abyss as part of Eir rebrand

24 Jul 2017

Image: Igor Zh/Shutterstock

After blazing a trail over 12 years, Meteor crashes to Earth to be replaced by a single Eir mobile arm.

From September, the Meteor brand will be no more and all customers will migrate to Eir’s network as part of a major rebrand.

Meteor currently has more than 750,000 direct subscribers.

The move will establish Eir as a single mobile operator with more than 1.1m customers. The mobile network has 96pc population coverage for 4G and recently introduced innovations such as Wi-Fi Calling.

‘The transition will be seamless, and Meteor customers will continue using their mobiles exactly as before’

Eir will spend between €3m and €4m on a ‘Let’s make possible’ campaign to establish the brand.

“This decision reflects the confidence we have in the Eir brand,” said Richard Moat, CEO of Eir.

“The transition will be seamless, and Meteor customers will continue using their mobiles exactly as before, with the added benefit of a world of possibilities. By focusing on a single mobile brand and reducing the duplication of supporting two brands, we can offer better value and increased innovation.

“Meteor customers may not have realised that they are part of a much bigger network, and they should be reassured that they can now take full advantage of all of the possibilities that come from being an Eir customer.”

Rise and fall of Meteor

Meteor was established in Ireland in 1998 when ComReg’s predecessor, ODTR, held a competition for licences. Meteor, a joint venture involving Western Wireless, RF Communications and TWG Ireland LLC, prevailed over a rival bid by Orange.

Orange’s failure to win the licence sparked an intense legal challenge that ultimately failed, leaving Meteor free to begin operations on 29 June 2000 with the 085 prefix.

Meteor’s star was slow to rise at first but it quickly became popular as a lower-cost prepaid option favoured by teenagers, as Ireland’s nascent mobile economy began to take shape.

In 2004, Eir successfully won a bidding war against Smart Telecom and a consortium led by Denis O’Brien, and acquired Meteor for €420m.

And now, after 17 interesting years, the Meteor brand has met its demise.

The move to consolidate its mobile offerings under one single brand makes sense for Eir as it looks to innovate in mobile and take on rivals such as Vodafone and Three, with comprehensive offerings in a marketplace where the pendulum has shifted from prepaid back to fixed contracts.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years