Vodafone & Blackberry Storm – Yet Another Paddy Tax

Rip Off Ireland is at it again.  It wasn’t enough for O2 to rip off Irish customers who wanted an iPhone, now Vodafone are ripping off those who want a Blackberry Storm.

Blackberry Storm

Blackberry Storm

Back in March, Pat Phelan exposed the O2 Paddy Tax on the iPhone.  Now, I’m exposing the Vodafone Paddy Tax on the Blackberry Storm – due to be released here in the next few weeks.

Vodafone UK today launched the Blackberry Storm for sale online.  The phone is free on all contracts.  The cheapest £35 (€41) per month contract includes 600 minutes of calls; unlimited texts; unlimited data; and unlimited Blackberry email.

Two weeks ago, Vodafone Ireland gave details of their price plans here to Silicon Republic (later confirmed on Vodafone’s own site).  With the cheapest contract – €49.99 (already a tenner more than the UK) – the phone costs €109.99.  That contract includes just 100 minutes of calls; 100 texts; 1GB of data (including Blackberry email).

Side by Side: UK & Ireland

Let’s put those side by side for comparison:

  • Phone Cost: UK – €0; Ireland – €109.99
  • Cheapest Contract: UK – €41; Ireland – €49.99
  • Bundled Minutes: UK – 600; Ireland – 100
  • Bundled Texts: UK – unlimited; Ireland – 100
  • Bundled Data (email & web): UK – unlimited; Ireland – 1GB
  • Bundled Email: UK – unlimited; Ireland – 1GB

UK customers get more than six times what Irish customers get (infinitely more when it comes to data), and pay a tenner less a month and nothing up front.

And the charges once you pass those Irish limits are pretty outrageous too:

Silicon Republic:

Additional call charges that will be applied to the pricing plans if users go beyond their package allocation will range between 18 cent and 30 cent, 11 cent per text message, €2 per megabyte of BlackBerry email and 2 cent per kilobyte of Vodafone Live.

As James points out, we’re already giving the mobile companies a 66% average revenue per user (ARPU) than the rest of Europe.  And that’s rising, as the Indo reported earlier this week (see the last line of that article).

Going Dutch

In the Netherlands, Vodafone are also giving the Blackberry Storm away free – this time with a basic contract at €44.50.  With that, you get 300 minutes and 300 texts, and unlimited data/email (I’m fairly sure – my Dutch is a bit rusty).  More than three times as much as Irish customers get, but for a fiver less a month, and no up front cost.

Come on Vodafone

Why does someone in Newry pay less and get more than someone a couple of miles down the road in Dundalk?  Why, for that matter, should the customers who generate more revenue per head than any others in Europe be charged far more for far less than other Europeans?

So come on, RIM and Vodafone Ireland.  Get one over on O2 & Apple.  Stop the Paddy Tax.  Stop ripping us off.

Update (2008-11-19):

Matt Cooper covered this on The Last Word too.

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