Tag Archives | Tesco Mobile

Top VI Tips to Save Money on Mobile Phone Insurance

Earlier this week I wrote about the hard lessons learned by an Irish Times reader when it came to buying and renewing insurance on their mobile phone, Hard lesson learned on the pointlessness of paying for mobile phone insurance.

Inspired by that story, here are the ValueIreland Top VI Tips on saving money on mobile phone insurance.

  1. Don’t buy mobile phone insurance

  2. When buying a mobile phone in a shop, don’t buy the mobile phone insurance they offer you there and then

  3. If you think you do need mobile phone insurance, their just look after your phone better

  4. Don’t buy the mobile phone insurance that might come with your contract with your mobile network

  5. If you’ve damaged, lost, broken, or dropped your phone in the toilet before, then maybe don’t buy an expensive phone

  6. Don’t buy mobile phone insurance as part of an add on on your home, or other, insurance policies

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Understanding “the angles” when reading the newspaper

Recently, I’m becoming more and more aware of “the angles” or agendas of newspaper journalists when reading their published articles. Some would say that I’m just becoming more cynical. While some angles and agendas are not always obvious, you would have to sometimes wonder where a journalist is coming from when they’re writing a story.

So, as an example, when a journalist wants to address the issue of mobile phone charges being very high in Ireland – say 3 or 4 years ago at the height of Rip Off Ireland, they won’t accept the networks reasoning that it’s because Irish people talk more. As far as they’re concerned, it’s because we’re being charged more. It’s good to knock the networks after all.

ARPU – Average Revenue Per User

One thing to remember here is that the measure of how much a consumer is charged, as calculated by the mobile companies, is ARPU – average revenue per user. This ARPU value is made up of two factors – the actual charges for services levied by the networks, and the amount of those services availed of by the consumer. So, a high charge with low usage, or a medium charge with medium usage, or a low charge with high usage could all provide the same ARPU calculation.

But back to angles and agendas!

Say in 2006, the ARPU for Irish mobile users is said to be high compared to Europe – this is can only be because Irish mobile users are being charged more for their services – not that they’re using the services more. Dan White of Independent Newspapers wrote about this way back then – The €300m mobile rip-off.

But say that in 2010, the ARPU value for Irish consumers has fallen by 8% and from €49 in 2005 per month to €37.40 now *, then this can only be because the “Irish cutting back on the auld chat” according to the very same Dan White of Independent Newspapers.

In 2006, Mr. White had this to say:

The massive margins being earned by Vodafone and O2 in this country are costing Irish mobile phone users about €300m a year.

Further proof that Irish mobile phone users pay over the odds is provided by the fact that the average European ARPU is just €30.26 a month (€363.12 a year), compared to an Irish average of €47.37.

Whereas in 2010, when the Irish ARPU has fallen to a level that is still above what the European ARPU was back in 2005 (not commented upon strangely), there is no chance that the increased market competion amongst the Irish mobile market participants is given any credit for this drop. If you’ve knocked the networks before, you can’t obviosuly give them any credit now.

In 2005, we had Vodafone and O2, with a little bit of Meteor pre-paid, in the Irish mobile market. We now have a much stronger Meteor, along with 3 Mobile, and Tesco Mobile, all providing strong competion to Vodafone and O2.

But this isn’t even entertained by Mr. White – he strangely now accepts the logic rejected back in 2006 that the usage costs of Irish mobile users is dependent on how much we use, and by extension, nothing to do with the level of charges applied by the mobile companies. He’s now on the side of the argument he dismissed back in 2006 and now uses it to justify a position he cannot back up in 2010:

Having long been the most prolific mobile phone users in Europe, it seems the recession is teaching the Irish to cut back on the gab.

And as we all know, competition can and frequently does bring down prices. So, Irish consumers could actually be getting the same mobile services from their providers as they were in 2005, but are just paying less for them.

As just one example, I’m paying less on a monthly basis now that I was 2 or 3 years ago, but I’m getting vastly more for my less money now than I was for my more money back then. My ARPU for O2 would be down, but I’m not using their services less.

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Mobile phone costs, top ups, and offers and gaming CallCosts.ie

In a recent article for the Irish News of the World, I was looking at the cost of sending texts. As I’ve highlighted for many of the articles I’ve written, the multitude of different offers and pricing models across many consumer products such as texting almost seems to be an intentional effort on the part of service providers to make any comparisons impossible across companies.

It’s therefore impossible to compare like with like, and this just shows how difficult a job it is for CallCosts.ie to provide an accurate picture.

Take, for example, the top up offers currently advertised by the mobile providers on their website:

  • Vodafone – Get 20% bonus credit when you top up by €30 or more here
  • O2 – 10% extra when you top up by €30
  • Meteor – no direct offers available on their website at the moment
  • Three – no direct offers available on their website at the moment
  • Tesco Mobile – top up by €10 and get €10 free, top up by €20 and get €20 free and top up by €30 and get €30 free.

It should be noted that many of these offers have some catchy small print included that should be checked before assuming everything is straightforward. For example, free top up credit can’t always be carried over from month to month and your paid credit is always used first before your free credit.

Using the CallCosts.ie website to try to work out the cheapest way to send texts is an example of the wide variety in packages avaialble to customers – for example, as can be seen above, mobile operators seem reluctant to provide the same top up value offers, nor provide the same numbers of inclusive minutes or texts.

Its also well known within the mobile industry that the CallCosts.ie website can be “gamed” – that is, it’s known what combinations of free texts, or add-on text bundles or minutes bundles, can be made available on any of their standard packages to try to get them to the top of the CallCosts comparison listings for best value.

And the CallCosts.ie website clearly states that this is possible, so why wouldn’t the mobile companies, take advantage of that:

From the Model Assumptions section of the CallCosts.ie website, Assumption regarding add-ons and pre-paid discounts:

In providing a result, callcosts.ie assumes the user will choose tariffs/payment options and features available which if availed of can lower their costs.

Consequently, callcosts.ie will calculate if a top-up discount or a tariff add-on feature can lower the cost to the user and, if so, indicate whether this feature has been included in the calculation when providing a result.

It is assumed that the user will purchase the add-on or will top up by the required minimum top-up level in order to avail of the benefit.  Please note a top-up discount will only apply where the users spend level passes the initial threshold at which the top up discount becomes available.

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How to understand your texting options

Irish News of the World

May, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

Text Message Confusion

Do you know how many text messages you send each month? How much is your texting habit costing you?

In 2008, ComReg said that Irish people sent almost 25m text messages every day – that’s up from 9m in 2004. That’s over 9bn text messages sent in one year.

Across the 5 mobile phone companies operating in Ireland at the moment (Vodafone, O2, Meteor, Three and Tesco) there are almost 30 different ways you can be charged for sending a text. If I didn’t know better, I might think that these companies are purposely trying to confuse us.

Most of these companies will provide packages that will either charge you per text, or depending on how much you spend per month, will provide you with “inclusive texts”. These inclusive texts are mainly available on monthly post pay contracts, varying from 30 with Meteor to 2850 on certain Three contracts.

Text Costs

If you’re paying by individual text, the cheapest company at the moment is Three who charge a promotional offer of 3c per text until the end of June on their 3Pay package. The Three Pay Monthly contract will cost you from 6c to 8c per text.

All the other mobile companies will charge you from 9c on monthly contract phones to 13c on pre-paid phones to send a text message.

The craziest thing about all these text message charges is that they cost the mobile phone companies less than a fraction of a cent to carry a text message, so they’re making huge profits on each text we pay for.

Optional Extras

There are two extra features to watch out for when checking out how much a text message might cost you.

Firstly, most mobile companies now offer free text messages if you’re sending messages between people on the same network.

Secondly, most of the companies will now also provide text bundles or add-ons where you can buy an extra allocation of text each months for up to €10 and sometimes more. These will give you an extra number of text messages each month that normally bring down the average cost – down to 4.5c to 7.5c across all the networks.

Free Texts

O2, Vodafone and Meteor all provide 250 to 300 free text messages to their customers on their websites. For people who work regularly on computers, or have home computers, there is a saving of up to €30 per month available here by using these free texts.

If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you can use an Apple App Store application called EirText that will allow you send text messages from your free text allocation while you’re on the move.

The application is free and if you’re connecting over the O2 network, you will have to pay the data costs. However, if you’re using a WiFi connection you have no costs at all.

Finding Out More

Given the complexity of the numerous mobile phone packages available, if you want to find the best offer available at the moment, the place to go is the ComReg website www.callcosts.ie.

As an example, if you send 300 texts per month and don’t make any phone calls at all, then the best value overall, where all your texts are “free” is to go with Tesco Mobile (assuming you top by €30 in one go).

Next best is the O2 Experience More pre-paid package where you must top up by €20 per month.

Using the www.callcosts.ie website, you can either check out the best value package if you’re thinking of changing of changing your mobile provider. You can also use it to compare your current package with others that are out there to make sure you’re getting the best value possible.

Savings

If you send an average of 10 texts per day for the month, your text costs alone could be costing you anything from €0 to €39 per month depending on the mobile company you’re with and the phone package that you’re on. If you make the switch from the highest to the lowest package, you could be saving yourself over €450 per year.

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I want to save money on my mobile bills. Any ideas?

Irish News of the World

February 15th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

Mobile Switching Savings

In the past, ValueIreland.com has provided its readers with many Top Tips on how to reduce your mobile phone bill. I followed these tips myself in the last couple of weeks and managed to get my bill reduced by about €30 per month.

I was with O2 and checked around all the other companies – Meteor, Three, and Vodafone – to see if I could get a better deal – I even considered going from Pay Monthly to Pay as You Go (with Tesco).

Despite it’s popularity, I found the CallCosts.ie website pretty useless. Like a lot of people these days, a big proportion of my bill is now data related and the website can’t cater for that.

In the end, it was actually just a different package with O2 that got me exactly what I needed for voice, texts and data.

When you’re checking your usage and the packages available, make sure you consider going for a lower tariff than you think you might need and boosting it with add-ons rather than going for the bigger tariff.

Add-ons can be added and removed on a monthly basis without changing your contract, where as if you end up with a tariff that’s too big for your needs, you may either have to pay a charge to get to a lower tariff, or you’ll just have to stick it out till the end of the year because of contract terms and conditions.

Check out here for more.

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