COMMUNICATIONS company Cellhire has signed up over 3,000 corporate and private customers seeking cheaper mobile phone tariffs during Euro 2012.
The York-based company, which specialises in short term communication solutions for major global events, has signed up the English, Spanish and French football teams as well as broadcasters BBC and BSkyB.
Customers who sign up to Cellhire will be able to make phone calls from the Ukraine and Poland at a considerably cheaper rate than if they travelled there and used their normal tariffs.
Price comparison website uSwitch has warned that football fans in the Ukraine could face daily costs of £35 a day for ten minutes of calls, five texts and a two-minute voicemail.
Cellhire said it can offer the same amount of calls, texts and voicemail for less than £4 a day, a saving of 88 per cent.
The company has negotiated terms with mobile phone operators in Poland and Ukraine to secure the deals.
Its Polish partner is Orange Poland and its Ukrainian partner is Kyivstar.
Tim Williams, Cellhire’s chairman and chief executive, said; “We followed the Government’s advice and got on our bike and got on a plane to Poland and Ukraine. We went out last year to negotiate rates for both voice and data connections.”
Visitors travelling to the two countries will effectively get a local Polish or Ukrainian mobile number, so there are no roaming charges (see side panel).
“It’s like having a Polish or Ukrainian number, it doesn’t use the UK network,” said Mr Williams.
“We give customers the SIM cards of those networks and they will last for the period of the tournament from June 8 to July 1.”
Poland is subject to EU guidelines that state the maximum amount a mobile phone provider can charge for services in Europe is 35p per minute to make phone calls, 11p per minute to receive phone calls and 11p to send a standard text message.
According to uSwitch’s survey only 15 per cent of people could correctly identify these maximum charges.
It also said that 61 per cent of people believe that receiving a text message while abroad costs money, when this service is actually free.
Ukraine is outside the EU, so it isn’t subject to EU caps on network call charges, hence the possible £35 per day charge.
Cellhire said an increase in demand for data bundles contributed significantly to overall orders with the majority of customers taking an additional data bun- dle.
The company said it will provide on-site assistance during the Championships and will offer 24/7 customer and technical support throughout the tournament.
“Cellhire’s success at this particular event has been largely down to our unique relationship with European networks and the high applicability of the packages on offer,” said Mr Williams.
“Providing such a high level of support coupled with significant savings on roaming has given Cellhire the competitive edge in 2012.”
Mr Williams said that most of the orders are business to business, but it has also signed up a number of large travel companies.
Individual customers can sign up via the company’s website, although many fans will be travelling to the matches on a daily basis due to high hotel tariffs.
The advice from uSwitch for individual customers is to switch off phones in the UK and leave them off until needed and tell family and friends to only send texts.
It also advises fans to ask their mobile phone company to switch off their voicemail service while they are away, ask their provider about a separate roaming package before they travel and buy an international SIM card that lets them make cheaper calls abroad.
The UEFA European Championships kick off on June 8 with co-hosts Poland playing Greece in Warsaw.
Cellhire has signed up the O2 network to provide a similar service during the London Olympics.
“We’ve got a lot of connections from the US, media companies, corporate sponsors and a number of teams such as the US and Canada,” said Mr Williams.
It is also gearing up for the FIFA World Cup in two years’ time and it has just finished at the Cannes Film Festival.
Formed in 1987, Cellhire’s headquarters are in York, with additional offices in London, France, Germany, Japan and throughout the US.
It has service agreements with 100 network partners in over 40 countries.