O2 has revealed plans to scrap roaming services with Northern Ireland, opting for a single all-Ireland call-rate. In addition, the company has said that it has signed a media messaging interoperability agreement with arch-rival Vodafone that will enable users of both networks to send multimedia messages with pictures and sound to one another.
The new roaming service, O2 says, will reduce the cost of making calls within Northern Ireland and to the Republic of Ireland by up to 70pc.
Gerry McQuaid, O2 Ireland’s commercial director explained: “For our customers roaming on the O2 network in the North, it’s as if they are on the home network. We believe that this new service will bring substantial cost benefits to Irish companies carrying out business in Northern Ireland on a regular basis and to the many people who travel North for leisure.
“Essentially, there are two elements to this offer. Firstly, there are no roaming charges for calls received while in Northern Ireland and secondly, national call charges according to individuals’ price plans will apply for calls made anywhere on the island while roaming in Northern Ireland. The service will also bring significant savings to the many people who live in border areas and who traverse the border every day,” McQuaid said.
The announcement of the new all-Ireland roaming arrangement coincided with the company’s quarterly results for the three months to the end of June. The company said that it acquired 17,000 new customers (3,000 post-pay and 14,000 pre-pay) bringing its total customer base to 1.272 million representing a 10pc growth from the same period last year.
ARPU (average revenue per user) for pre pay customers grew to €342 per customer, up from €329 in the same period last year. For post-pay customers, the yearly ARPU increased to €1,022, up from €1,002 in the same period last year. Blended ARPU was €545 up from €537 in the same period last year.
A total of 280 million text messages were sent on the O2 network in the quarter, representing a 31pc increase in the volume of SMS messages from the same period last year.
Danuta Gray, O2 Ireland’s chief executive said: “O2 Ireland again delivered a strong performance over the past three months in a highly penetrated market. Approximately 80pc of the population now have mobile phones or devices and usage of voice and data services continues to grow and is well ahead of the European average. We remain focused on delivering a superior quality service to our customers, continuing to find ways to reduce costs and ensuring that our services bring real benefits to both our consumer and business customers.”
By John Kennedy