WHEN I HEAR a customer sales rep gush on the phone I know I have been marked. So when the third separate call centre spokesperson rang from O2 I knew it was about something other than customer loyalty. My usage made me a preferred customer. O2 likes debiting my current account for more than €200 each month and they rang up on the first occasion to guarantee me international call rates below 90 cents a minute. I never pay more than 50 cents a minute when using my mobile phone to call the States during the day because I dial through a Smart Telecom VOIP number. O2 customer service rang a second time to guarantee me in-country rates on all services when using my phone in England. During the third call from O2 in the same 30 day period, I was offered a free upgrade. I cheekily asked for a handset not on the call list and it looks like I got "a special offer below recommended retail" price. That should translate into €150 for a SonyEricsson P910. Ask and you shall receive.
I publish half of my blog items via O2 GPRS. I read most of my aggregator snippets using LiteFeeds, my Nokia 9500 and O2 GPRS. That diet of microcontent alone costs me an average of €88 each month. These are easy takings because it's data--no concerns about call quality. When your mobile phone signal has to pass through 400 cows to get to the nearest mast, you won't get strong coverage. That's a fact of life in my current Tipperary dwelling. It's a long way from strong signals in my corner of the pasture.
Occasionally, it takes a few attempts to send messages (post mail-to-blog or download e-mail). O2 charges for each of those attempts and it's profitable across the board. Irish phone customers account for 8.75% of O2's turnover but that small slice of action generates 21% of O2 group profits. Damien Kiberd reckons, "O2 is making between three and four times as much profit per customer in Ireland as it is in Germany". I believe in capitalism and don't begrudge O2 profits. I know I have to control my mobile diet and I'm counting on the start of the academic year to do that for me. Now, can I get the P910 in black?
Damien Kiberd -- "Revealed: the Rip-Off Fairy Tales" in The Sunday Times, August 21, 2005.