The most commonly used prefix, the 1550, costs the caller 58p per minute - or approximately the price of a call to Jamaica.
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This State's first premium-rate line appeared in 1988. "There was an initial boom, then things levelled off and over the past two years the whole market has just mushroomed." His company now acts as a middleman, between the companies providing the service, information or ideas and the phoneline providers.
It was started simply to make money, by Phonovation Ltd. Phonovation updates information on the automated lines it runs; it transfers information calling customers have left on to disc and it collates information.
These offer everything from tarot-card reading, through the "Gay Guys' Complete Dating Service" to a line offering help with filling in farm-aid application forms.
Some service providers are in the premium-rate business purely to make money (as with the "party" scenario above).
welcome to our party, where the fun goes on 24 hours a day. ." If you get this far into the club, you will have already spent £1.16 (€1.47).
Depending on the prefix, the call can cost anything from 26p per minute (for the 1530 numbers) to £1.50 per minute (for the 1580 numbers).
He told the Irish Independent: 'They are getting these calls in the middle of night.
'One of those people has an elderly mother and family members all over the world and there could be a call at any time that they would have to take.' The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has contacted the television channel about the issue, but says it has no powers to directly address the problem.
Adult TV station viewers have been bombarding unsuspecting residents with x-rated phone calls in the middle of the night after an extremely awkward mix-up.