THE country’s only Irish-owned prepaid mobile network is to cease operations.
Customers of Just Mobile, which launched last October, have been told to seek another operator.
The founders said the business climate in Ireland is “not conductive for young companies to raise capital in”.
A spokesman said Just Mobile was “unable to secure follow-on funding in the current environment”. He said the company’s main partner, Vodafone, and other suppliers could not continue to support them.
“This is something no one wanted. We believe we created something special for our customers,” he said.
On setting up the company, founders Donal Lawless and Stuart Kelly said lots of people thought they were “mad” to set up a pre-pay mobile network in the middle of a recession.
Yesterday, when news broke that the business is going to close, they said they wished they had more time to alert people of certain elements of the service being shut down, but they didn’t.
“Thanks to everyone that has supported us, we very much appreciate it and apologise if we’ve let you down,” they said.
On Tuesday, Just Mobile customers were told to contact an alternate choice of mobile operator as soon as possible. They were also unable to make international or premium-rate calls, or use data services.
From Monday, customers will no longer be able to call and text people on other networks, and from Friday next week customers will no longer be able to make calls.
The company operated on the Vodafone network and had a support centre in Swords, north Co Dublin. Just Mobile also donated 3% of every top-up to community causes and charities.
Last year, Just Mobile signed a deal with Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Peter Jones’s company Data Select to distribute handsets.
The firm created 25 jobs, and had been expected to grow its workforce to 70 in the coming years.
The company signed an agreement with wholesaler BWG to make its phones available through the Spar and Mace convenience store network.
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