Meteor pushes towards 18pc market share

30 Aug 2006

Ireland’s third-largest mobile operator Meteor revealed yesterday that it is edging closer to an 18pc share of Ireland’s mobile market.

The company said growth is being fuelled by opportunities in the Irish youth market such as mobile phones with music capabilities.

Speaking at a press conference launching the first prepay Sony Ericsson Walkman phone to be sold in Ireland for under €200, the W300i, Meteor’s communications director Andrew Kelly said the company’s “ongoing assault” on the Irish market continues.

“Our last registered returns show us having 700,000 customers and a 16pc market share,” he said. “In the time we’ve been in the Irish market, the market has grown from 84pc to 102pc penetration. We’ve captured the lion’s share of new growth in the marketplace,” Kelly said.

Kelly said that the key ingredient in Meteor’s growth strategy is its expanded retail presence and complete coverage of the marketplace.

He said that there are now 400 vendors countrywide in Ireland selling the company’s phones, as well as moving from 12 stores to 30 stores. “We are aiming at reaching the milestone of 40 stores countrywide. We recently opened a Meteor store in Letterkenny and we no longer have coverage problems.

“We will continue to push competition in the prepaid and post-paid mobile markets in Ireland,” Kelly said.

Meteor’s marketing manager Michael Hayes said the new W300i Walkman phone from Sony Ericsson was “hot property”, featuring exclusive content such as wallpaper, themes and a full track download of the latest song from Christina Aguilera.

He affirmed that music-playing capabilities were a pivotal feature in the youth market’s choice of mobile devices. “This is the first time that a phone with Walkman functionality has been targeted at the prepaid market for less than €200.

“Music is a key part of our marketing strategy and we believe that in our focus on the youth market the new phone will light their fire,” Hayes said.

Pat Hughes, national account manager at Sony Ericsson in Ireland, said that one out of every four music phones sold in the UK today carries the Walkman brand. “This is the first time we’ve gone into the prepaid market in Ireland, which is essentially a youth market,” he said.

Eircom’s €423m acquisition of Meteor was concluded earlier this year. In turn, Eircom was acquired by Australian venture capitalist Babcock & Brown for €2.4bn.

In terms of how Meteor is progressing under the new regime, Kelly said that the company’s strategy of reaching an eventual 20pc market share has not been hindered in any way by the new owners.

By John Kennedy