The Carphone Warehouse-owned network iD Mobile Ireland has just filed for liquidation. Following an announcement last year that Dixons Carphone (the parent organisation for both businesses) would withdraw iD Mobile from the Irish market, efforts to find a buyer for the network failed, adding to the question marks surrounding the company’s future in Ireland amid reports the retail store network would be significantly scaled back.
What Does This Mean for iD Mobile Customers?
Mark Delaney, Managing Director for Dixons Carphone in Ireland, confirmed customers would have coverage until 6 April 2018 but that they will need to move off the network before that date. While Delaney also included that you can change your network at any of the 82 Carphone Warehouse stores around Ireland, you’ll also be able to interact directly with other networks. This is important as Carphone Warehouse don’t carry Tesco Mobile who offers some of the best SIM only deals. According to Google Trends, both Tesco Mobile and 48, yes they still exist, are the most searched for networks as people find out about the iD Mobile liquidation.
Can iD Customers Keep Their Phones?
Regulation 14 of the 2011 European Communities Regulations protect customers from networks making sudden changes to mobile contracts. Last year, you might remember the furore surrounding Three’s contract change which let the vast majority of customers leave their contract while keeping their handset. The same is not necessarily true for iD Mobile customers.
iD Mobile sell the phone and plan at the same time but under separate agreements. The benefit of this is flexible billing that customers can adjust over the lifetime of their contract. The phone is effectively bought on a separate hire purchase agreement.
This wasn’t outlined int he initial statement from Dixons Carphone, but I followed up and was told that while customers will no longer pay for mobile services like talk, text and data, “customers that have an outstanding balance on an equipment contract for a phone or mobile broadband device should note that the contract is not affected and therefore they will need to continue to make payments to iD Mobile until this outstanding balance is cleared”.
This is also confirmed in an FAQ page on iD Mobile’s website.
Initial reaction to this has been negative from customers according to both boards.ie and Google Trends, with some of the former outlining their plans to cease handset repayments. There has also been a sharp increase in people searching for ComReg suggesting many are looking at their options.
Can Customers Lose Their Numbers?
This is probably the biggest risk to customers right now. If you don’t move your number to another network before 6 April 2018, you will most likely lose your number as iD ceases to exist. Moving your number is pretty easy these days too and we’ve highlighted some top deals below.
Who Has The Best SIM Only Deals?
If you are one of the network’s forty thousand customers now looking for a new network, you’re spoilt for choice.
Three SIM Only Deals
Three are fast becoming Ireland’s most popular network, challenging the stranglehold on the market Vodafone has had for many years. Their SIM only plans are also great with their most popular bill pay plan coming in at €30 per month. This plan includes unlimited data, calls and texts and 3 months access to Deezer, a music streaming platform.
Three Offer For iD Mobile Customers
If you’re an iD Mobile customer, you’re absolutely laughing with Three. They’ve just released a special offer which gives you everything on that €30 per month plan but you’ll only pay €5 per month for the first 12 months. Being honest, this is an unprecedented offer and I think the networks are losing the run of themselves in the iD Mobile customer land grab. But who cares? Customers are certainly winning with this deal!
If you’re a prepay customer, they’ll also port you in and give you a bonus €120 credit, drip fed to your account over 12 months. Regardless of whether your bill pay or prepay, you’ll also benefit from access to 3Plus which gives priority tickets to events in the 3Arena. You can pick up this offer in any Carphone Warehouse store (not online), in Three stores around Ireland and the Three.ie website. It’s important to note that for bill pay customers, your discount will be applied from the second month on the network and will then continue for 12 months.
Tesco Mobile SIM Only Deals
For €25 per month, Tesco Mobile offers one of the best SIM only deals with 20GB of data and “unlimited” calls and texts which do come under a fair usage policy. Tesco also piggy back on the Three network as an MVNO, just like iD Mobile did so your coverage shouldn’t change too much; if anything it should improve slightly as it’s been rumoured Tesco pay for a slightly improved infrastructure.
48 SIM Only Deals
I was a little surprised to see 48 as one of the most popular searches to follow people searching for “iD Mobile liquidation” in Google. Now, I wasn’t surprised because of value or anything like that, but 48 does zero advertising anymore so I’m just surprised it’s alive and that people know it’s alive.
While 48 does come with plenty of restrictions, like international calls being a pain, the value is undeniable. “The Don” prepay plan gets you 1,000 minutes to any Irish mobile network, 60 landline minutes, unlimited texts and WhatsApp usage, with 8GB of data for you to gobble up too.
eir SIM Only Deals
eir is making hay while the sun shines, offering iD customers looking for a new plan a great SIM only plan, an offer now only playing second fiddle to Three’s offer. €15 per month will get you unlimited calls and texts with 15GB of data. That monthly price lasts for 12 months and goes up to €30 per month after that.
You’ll also get access to eir Sport which means you’ll be able to watch Premier League games every weekend on your phone. Just pop into any eir store to avail of the offer.
Goodbye iD Mobile
So there you have it. Ireland has lost a network. It will be interesting to see what happens in the market now given there was no interest to buy iD Mobile even though there were parties initially looking at the prospect. I’d wager we haven’t heard the end of this and the likes of Sky or Magnet could emerge from the embers after buying up what’s left of iD Mobile for a slashed price.
It’s important another network enters the market to keep the competition going. iD Mobile’s plans and offers were actually great, but the company just never got the momentum it needed to reach their target of 250,000 customers only ever reaching 40,000. Time will tell as we patiently wait for the company to be wound up and then see if someone emerges with a new MVNO for Ireland.
Full Statement from Dixons Carphone on iD Mobile Liquidation
iD Mobile, the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), has today been placed into provisional liquidation. The network was created in 2015 by Carphone
Warehouse Ireland Mobile Ltd. (a division of Dixons Carphone in Ireland) fulfilling part of the competition remedies imposed on Three Ireland by the European Commission in relation to its acquisition of O2 Ireland.
Dixons Carphone invested substantial resources to establish iD Mobile in Ireland and has continued to support the business financially. Despite a compelling
consumer mobile proposition in an increasingly competitive mobile market, iD Mobile was unable to achieve scale against established operators and its losses became unsustainable.
Interest from several potential buyers of the business was explored over a period of more than 12 months. However, a suitable buyer with the resources
required to make the MVNO a success could not be found and reluctantly a decision was taken to close iD Mobile in Ireland.
The key focus is now on ensuring iD Mobile’s 40,000 customers can transition over to a new network with minimum disruption and inconvenience.
To allow this to happen, Dixons Carphone has successfully applied for the appointment of a provisional liquidator, who will be provided with significant
financial and other support by the Group to allow full service to be maintained for all iD Mobile customers while they transition to an alternative network of their choice. iD Mobile’s suppliers will also continue to be paid for services they provide during
Customers will be contacted by text, letter and email in the coming days and all existing iD Mobile customers will be offered full service on the iD Mobile
network for the next 30 days. Bill-pay customers will not receive any further bills for their iD Mobile service and pay-as-you-go customers will be able to use any remaining call credit over this period.
iD Mobile customers are free to move to an alternative network as soon as they are ready. The expert team at Carphone Warehouse’s 82 stores nationwide is available to assist customers in choosing a network that’s right for them, and to move customers to their chosen operator. As a gesture of goodwill, any iD Mobile customer signing up to a new network in Carphone Warehouse over the next 30 days will receive €20 to spend in-store at the time of switching.