Ireland is now the most expensive Country in World for Telephony
IrelandOffline today received their copy of an authoritative survey published recently in Geneva by the International Telecommunications Union, The ITU is the global Telecommunications standards and information body.
Finally Ireland leads the way, at least in one field. We are now officially the Most Expensive Country in the World in which to rent a telephone line and make a few local calls. We are the 17th most expensive country in the World for prepaid mobile phone calls. 150 countries were surveyed in all.
Commenting on the survey IrelandOffline Chairperson Eamonn Wallace said “These figures are simply disgraceful but sadly they are very much as expected. They confirm the information in our recent Press Releases that Irish Phone line Rental is the ripoff of the century.”
IrelandOffline strongly condemns this rip off , especially as we have to question the service levels we get for our exorbitant line rental cost. This report comes at a time when Ireland is facing grave challenges in maintaining a competitive environment in many areas. Wallace continued “The ITU conduct this survey every two years and we will therefore remain in this ignominious top position until 2011”.
As IrelandOffline exclusively revealed last week the number of line faults is now so great that Comreg no longer publish them. We are again calling on Comreg to publish these figures as they are required to do by the EU. Wallace added “Regulators such as Comreg must represent the interests of Irish Consumers and Irish Businesses as a starting principle and not as an optional add on package or an inconvenience. Clearly their emphasis on promoting competition has failed to deliver a competitive environment and once again Irish consumers are suffering from inflated prices”.
Wallace went on to say “it is long past time that strong legislation be brought in to direct Comreg to reduce line rental prices to the EU average immediately. There is a precedent here in Ireland for such a move, as the Minister recently directed that electricity prices also be reduced.”
IrelandOffline is also calling for a root and branch reform of the system of “gentlemanly regulation” especially in the field of telecommunications, this should include the abolition of Comreg and other regulators and a replacement system that focuses on the consumer as its primary objective be put in place. The Financial Regulator is clearly not the only Regulator in Ireland that suffers from Regulatory Capture. The consumers of Ireland simply cannot afford to pay any longer for the total failure of our “gentlemanly” regulatory system.
As was pointed out in our previous Press Release :
Chart showing line rental charges across the EU taken from the EU’s “13th Report on the Implementation of the Telecommunications Regulatory Package – 2007” report.
Appendices and Links
- Relevant ITU report download (PDF).
- Fixed telephony Ireland $42.20. Next highest is Norway on $37.60 , over 10% less than Irish costs. Norway, however, is over 5 times bigger than Ireland and with a similar population . They will supply you with ADSL broadband even if you live north of the Artic Circle. (Page 70 of 108, Numbered 61).
- Mobile Telephony: Page 72 of 108
- Methodology for Calculation: Page 95 of 108 for both Fixed and Mobile
- Fixed basket
The fixed telephone sub-basket aims to capture the average monthly cost of a basic local fixed residential telephone service. Following the methodology of the World Bank’s “Price Basket for residential fixed line”, it includes the monthly subscription fee plus the cost of 30 three-minute local calls to the same (fixed) network (15 peak and 15 off-peak calls).
However, unlike the World Bank’s basket, it does not take into consideration the one-time connection charge. This choice has been made in order to improve the comparability with the other sub-baskets, and therefore include only recurring monthly charges.
The cost of a 3-minute local call refers to the cost of a 3-minute call within the same exchange area (local call)using the subscriber’s equipment (i.e., not from a public telephone). It thus refers to the amount the subscriber must pay for a 3-minute call and not the average price for each 3-minute interval. For example, some operators charge a connection fee for every call, or a different price for the first minute of a call. In this case, the actual amount for the (first) three minutes is calculated.
- Mobile Basket
The mobile cellular sub-basket represents the monthly cost of a basic mobile cellular subscription. The monthly usage is determined following the OECD/Teligen methodology. It consists of 25 outgoing calls per month (on-net, off-net and to a fixed line), in predetermined ratios, plus 30 Short Message Service (SMS) messages. The predetermined ratios used to calculate the OECD mobile low user basket are shown in Annex Box 2.1.
While prepaid tariffs tend to be more expensive (per minute) than postpaid tariffs, they were chosen because they are often the only payment method available to low-income users who might not have a regular income and will thus not qualify for a postpaid subscription based service.
Rather than representing the cheapest option available, the mobile cellular sub-basket therefore represents a basic, representative package available to all customers. Where possible, the prices of the major operator (in terms of subscriber market share) were taken, obtained from operators’ websites or by direct correspondence with operators.