Meteor steps up business campaign

12 Sep 2005

Meteor has introduced aggressive new price plans in a bid to muscle into the lucrative postpay business market. The mobile operator claimed its new tariffs would allow businesses to cut their mobile bills by nearly a third.

Branded Business Edge, the new service offers business customers up to 32pc savings compared with Vodafone and O2, according to the company. In a statement, Meteor said the service would be about “straightforward value for money” and offer such benefits as no peak/off-peak price differential and no extra cost for calls to landlines in Britain and Northern Ireland.

The announcement of the new business tariff plans comes following a period of substantial growth for Meteor in the first half of 2005. In the period April to June, Meteor outperformed both of the other major network operators signing up more than 55pc of all customer additions in the market. After the first two quarters trading in 2005, Meteor had some 410,000 customers.

Having initially focused almost exclusively on the prepay market, the introduction of national coverage through a roaming agreement with O2 in August 2004 has allowed it to court the higher-margin business customer. This campaign was stepped up recently when the company introduced a wireless data card, which is seen as an integral part of both O2 and Vodafone’s business offering.

In the past two quarters, 22pc of Meteor’s new customer acquisitions has been on the bill-pay side, historically a very high figure for the company. In the second quarter, Meteor doubled its bill-pay base and grew its prepay base by more than 7pc in a market that grew by 2pc, with the addition of some 26,000 prepay customers. Publicly released figures show that in the same period Vodafone incurred losses in the bill-pay market, while O2’s prepay base shrank by 1pc, with 11,000 customers lost.

Speaking at the launch of the new business tariff plans, Stuart Kelly, Meteor’s national business manager, said Meteor’s range of business services would be extended in the coming months with a number of additional business email solutions.

By Brian Skelly