There are meanwhile more mobile phones in Ireland than people. According to one statistic the 4.25 million people living in the Republic own a total of more than six million mobiles. Quite a large number, but then again, Irish people always like a good chat. And the big mobile phone companies make very good profits from this national trait of ours.
Personally I use my mobile phone wisely. Most of the time I text, which is not only a lot cheaper than talking, but also much less intrusive. While a voice call interrupts one at any time and in any situation, a SMS text message announces its arrival with a beep and can then be read and answered whenever one has the time for it.
But yesterday an unexpected situation required me to use the voice option, and for longer than I would do normally. I spoke nearly half an hour on my mobile, but it was a local call, from one part of the city to another. Guess how much this phone call has cost me?
When I checked, I noticed with a little shock that I was charged more than € 20 for about 28 minutes of conversation. Further investigation of the matter established that my call would have cost a lot less if the person I called would have been using the same network that I use. But since it was a call from Vodafone to O2, apparently a much higher tariff applies, even for local calls within the same small community. This is in my opinion outrageous and an absolute rip-off!
Some months ago the European Parliament forced the large mobile phone companies to reduce their costs for "roaming" (calls from one EU country to another) and for international calls in general. They did follow the parliamentary order, as they had really no other choice, but not very happily. It appears that they have found a way of compensating themselves for the loss of extra revenue on the international calls by increasing the costs of local calls between different networks.
I think everyone should be aware of this and watch the costs of local calls. I certainly will.
The Emerald Islander