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Archived Press Release: 2005: Comreg Questioned

As a concession to our Green Minister for Energy,Communication,Marine and Natural Resources,we have decided to recycle some of our old PRs…this just shows how little has changed since that time. We are trying to be “Green” and recycle things after all.


Press release of 2005.

*Summary of Press Release*

*Highest mobile prices in EU*
*Highest line rental in EU*
*2nd highest domestic phone bills in EU*
*Broadband uptake significantly lower than EU average*
*LLU complete failure *
*ISDN usage increasing again*
*IrelandOffline question the selective use of statistics by ComReg*

IrelandOffline called into question the ability of the telcoms
regulator today when another ComReg survey [1] revealed the extent of
high telecoms prices in Ireland.

Chairman of IrelandOffline Damien Mulley stated “This survey gives a
complete summary of the regulatory failures in the Irish Telecoms
market. We are one of the worst performing countries in the EU and
OECD for broadband uptake but what the general Irish consumer is not
being told is that we are paying more than most European citizens for
basic telecoms services such as mobile and phoneline services.”

John Timmons, Vice-chair of IrelandOffline stated “We question once
again why our telecoms regulator is not informing Irish consumers that
they pay the highest line rental in the EU and most of the developed
world, why they do not use OECD approved price calculators which shows
we pay the 2nd highest domestic bills in the EU and why they release
reports glossing over the fundamental problems. This survey shows how
much consumers and businesses are being overcharged and under serviced
for every type of
telecoms service and yet ComReg fails to comment on it and more
importantly failed to act on it.”

Some of the statistics IrelandOffline point out are:

** Highest mobile prices in EU **

Irish people on average pay €47.20 a month for mobile phone usage
however he average Swedish consumer pays €21.86, Northern Irish
consumers (part of UK in chart) pay €32.27 which is €15 a month less
than Irish people. On page 31 of the ComReg report [1], it shows that
Irish prices are significantly more expensive than most other EU
countries. Strangely Switzerland a non-EU country is included in the
chart and this increases the average mobile cost in the graph. Without
Switzerland in the chart, Ireland looks even worse. Why was a non-EU
country put into this chart when all it does is skew results?

** Highest line rental in EU **
ComReg’s current survey does not display the line rental charge in the
landline bill, which is the largest portion of the bill.

The data for line rental is however available in an EU report here: [2]
http://europa.eu.int/information_society/policy/ecomm/doc/implementation_enforcement/annualreports/11threport/sec_2006_193_vol2bis.pdf>http://europa.eu.int/information_society/policy/ecomm/doc/implementation_enforcement/annualreports/11threport/sec_2006_193_vol2bis.pdf

On page Pg 76 of this report it shows: Highest line rental in EU and
above Japan and USA. This is line rental from the EU and world
incumbents. Line rental is a static cost on landline bills and most
also be paid if you wish to get broadband on your phoneline. A
previous ComReg report did include line rental:
http://www.comreg.ie/_fileupload/publications/ComReg0543.pdf see page
15 but it was dropped in later reports.

** 2nd highest domestic phone bills in EU **

Pg 78 of the EU report: Composite basket for domestic phoneline bills.
45 euros a month for the composite phone bill. 2nd highest in EU.
Finland is more expensive. The composite basket is standard model for
a standardised phone bill composed of line rental, mobile calls,
national calls, International calls and local calls.

** Broadband uptake significantly lower than EU average **

Pg 22 of the ComReg report shows we are falling behind the main EU
countries and we are on a par with most of the former Soviet block
countries who have just joined the EU.

** LLU (Unbundling) is a monumental failure in Ireland **

LLU rate in Ireland is 2% according to page 19 of the ComReg report.
EU average is 16%. ComReg states “Ireland’s proportion of locally
unbundled lines as a percentage of DSL lines, currently at 2%, remains
relatively low compared to other EU countries where the average number
of LLU lines as a percentage of total DSL in September 2005 was 16% ”

LLU or unbundling allows the likes of Smart, Magnet and BT Ireland to
offer high speed broadband and TV down a phoneline and allows them to
offer basic broadband at a much reduced price. LLU has been the main
driver of broadband competition in the EU.

* ISDN usage increases *

Page 17 of the ComReg report shows yet again that ISDN usage has
increased. ISDN usage should be decreasing as people move to broadband
not increasing. ISDN is a 30 year old technology but for many in
Ireland it is the only product that can get them a stable slightly
faster than dialup speed on their line and they need it for their
business.

*NOTES
[1] http://www.comreg.ie/_fileupload/publications/ComReg0615.pdf
[2] Alt url for EU report: http://tinyurl.com/pavpp