According to Ireland’s independent telecoms advisory service MinuteBuyer, eircom’s new set-up charges, due to be implemented at the start of September, could cost Irish business users up to 50% more in call costs. MinuteBuyer’s research concludes that the average business call in the Republic – local, long-distance, international or mobile – lasts about 2.19 minutes. Prior to the introduction of the former monopoly’s 4.92 cents set-up charge, a local call would cost an eircom customer 9.35 cents. However, from 1 September Minutebuyer calculates that the same call will now cost 14.27 cents. ‘eircom is, in effect, introducing a penal surcharge on businesses throughout the country,’ says MinuteBuyer director Shaun Hayden, adding: ‘This is a significant negative development in the Irish telecoms market and is certainly not in line with prevailing industry trends, as was claimed by eircom in the their recent statement.’ At the start of this month the incumbent announced it was increasing its prices by close to 4% from September, which it said was less than the rate of inflation.