ComReg brokers temporary solution for Smart customers

4 Oct 2006

The Irish regulator ComReg has helped broker a temporary solution under which Smart Telecom’s 45,000 or so telephone subscribers will have their service at least partially restored within the next three days, writes The Irish Times. The watchdog said that following a deal hatched last night, customers who lost their line on Monday following a billing dispute between Smart and eircom will soon be able to make local and national calls, although international calls will remain barred. Efforts to find a solution for Smart’s broadband customers are ongoing. Under the interim measures being put in place, Smart customers will be able to select a service provider of their choice in order to better assess the different products and services available to them.

Smart Telecom recently confirmed it had run out of money, and late last month laid off two-thirds of its workforce and placed its pay-telephone and calling card businesses up for sale. Following an urgent internal review, the operator said it was pinning its hopes on the success of its broadband operation, but admitted it had been forced to seek a loan from its main shareholder – the Murtagh family of the building material group Kingspan – in order to keep going. The Irish Times reports that a consortium led by Mr Murtagh yesterday agreed to refinance the company, thereby drawing it back from the brink of liquidation.