The state’s competition watchdog is looking to see if telecommunications providers Eir, Vodafone, and ThreeMobile’s advance warning of price increases is a potential threat to competition.
His move comes after saying that all three will raise prices each year at inflation rates in addition to the set percentages.
Consumer advocates claim that this is a price signal, which is prohibited by Irish competition law.
Price signaling is an anti-competitive practice that makes companies aware that they intend to raise prices.
The Competitive Consumer Protection Commission, which cracks down on competition law, has fallen sharply on companies that have issued public statements about price increases in the past.
Recently, six state auto insurers have signed a legally binding contract to reform their internal competition law compliance program after conducting a five-year investigation into allegations of “price signaling” by insurers. I was forced to do that.
The Irish Independent Last week, Eir revealed that starting next April, it would increase the cost of the plan by the amount of inflation in January plus 3% each year.
The state’s largest telephone company, whose CEO is Oliver Rooms, said these price increases would apply to the entire pre-discounted monthly rate plan.
The inflation index of the consumer price index is currently 7.8%. This means that if inflation is so high in January, Eir’s price will rise by 10.8%.
This is similar to Vodafone and Three Mobile, which say they plan to continue their rise.
Vodafone Ireland has introduced a minimum annual price increase of at least 3pc for new mobile invoice payment customers and invoice payment customers who upgrade or renew their contracts.
Three Ireland raises the monthly fee for invoice payment plans by 4.5% each year.
Daragh Cassidy of price comparison site Bonkers.ie has asked the Competitive Consumer Protection Commission if the transition to inflation plus annual price increases does not correspond to a price signal.
Cassidy said there are concerns that Virgin Media, a landline and broadband service provider, and Sky TV, a landline and broadband service provider in the market, could bring about similar inflation and higher annual prices. Stated.
Michael Kircoin, chairman of the Irish Consumers Association, said it was not in the best interests of consumers to move businesses to set annual price increases.
“It’s distorting competition. Who would add value to consumers if they all result in an annual rise consisting of set percentages and inflation?” Kilcoin said.
“What are the points of competition if they are automatically increasing each year?”
The Competitive Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) said it is actively involved with traders and industry groups that make public statements regarding price increases.
In certain situations, he states that this could correspond to a price signal that violates competition law.
When asked about the shift to annual inflation and rising prices, it and ComReg, the telecommunications regulator, said it has competition law authority at the same time in the telecommunications sector.
“The CCPC will contact ComReg regarding actions that may be of concern,” said the competition watchdog.