Irish fixed line incumbent eircom has announced it is increasing its prices by close to 4% from September, putting pressure on consumers already facing massive rises in fuel, food and energy costs. The Irish Independent reports that the former state-owned telco has revamped its minimum call charge structure, replacing it with a set-up charge that does away with the current offer of including free minutes in the package. At it stands, eircom users can make off-peak local calls and receive more than five minutes’ talk time for ‘free’ for a minimum fee of 6.65 cents, after which they are billed per-second. However, under the new matrix, customers will pay a lower minimum call set-up charge of 5.95 cents, but will not receive any free call time. The former monopoly says that while the new tariff pricing structure would result in an average 3.8% hike in bills, the increase was below the rate of inflation and would bring eircom’s pricing model into line with its competitors.