EIRCOM, the former state-owned telecoms company , has been given the green light from te communications regulator to sell “bundles” of home phone, mobile phone and a broadband service at a fixed price per month. The company, which is planning 2,000 redundancies as it struggles with costs, has been barred from selling bundled services because of its dominance of the fixed-line market.
It sees the launch of bundled services as key to competing effectively with UPC, which bundles home phone, broadband and cable television services. Eircom is the first Irish operator to include mobile phone services in a bundled package.
WHAT’S ON OFFER?
There are three bundles, priced at €55 a month, €65 a month and €79 a month. These are the prices for an introductory six months, after which they each increase by 5 a month. All three bundles offer an 8Mb broadband service, and a home phone with unlimited off-peak calls.
The range of pricing reflects the different mobile packages on offer: the €55bundle includes 150 minutes of mobile phone calls, 150 text messages and a 500Mb data allowance.
For €79 the calls and tets are unlimited, and you get 5GB of data on your mobile package. All three bundles include unlimited calls to landlines and unlimited calls and texts to eMobile and Meteor – Eircom’s two mobile brands.
HOW DOES THE BROADBAND COMPARE?
The Eircom bundles offer broadband at download speeds of “up to” 8Mb, which is well below other market offers. Eircom itself offers speeds up to 24Mb, and its next generation broadband service is even faster.
UPC’s Fibre Power broadband is 50Mb, and in some parts of the country it provides a 150Mb service. Smart Telecom, part of Digiweb, has a 24Mb service, while wireless providers offer speeds of up to 30Mb.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR?
The home broadband data allowance on each of Eircom’s bundles is just 10BG per month, which is quickly used up and is unlikely to suit anyone who works from home. Similarly, the home phone includes unlimited off-peak calls, which is probably of limited benefit to a home office. The bundles could be seen as “mobile plans with broadband tacked on”, says Simon Moynihan of bonkers.ie, a price-comparison and switching service.
CAN I ADD A TV SERVICE TO THE BUNDLE?
Eircom does not currently offer a television service, although it is in advanced talks with broadcasters and content providers about launching a TV product as early as next year. Such a service would allow Eircom to go head-to-head with UPC, which has broadband and television services, and Sky, Which is about to enter the phone and broadband market through a link-up with BT.
CAN THE BUNDLES BE IMPROVED?
The bundles can be tweaked to include an unlimited data allowance on the broadband says Moynihan. He highlights a customised plan that includes anytime landline calls, the medium mobile plan of 300 minutes and texts per month and 8Mb broadband with unlimited data. The cost is €70 per month for the first six months, and €75 thereafter – cheaper than the advertised top-level bundle. Similarly, existing customers of Eircom’s home phone and broadband services can add a mobile plan to their package. These range in price from €15 to €39 a month with an 18-month contract.
Don’t go for the off-the-shelf plans advertised by Eircom, says Moynihan. Instead call Eircom to discuss your exact requirements with them.