Eircom has announced today that it is to increase several of its phone charges from 18 March.

The company's monthly line rental is set to rise by €1.28 (excluding VAT), from €16.20 to €17.48. This price increase will mean an average increase of 2.9% on residential customers bills and 2% on business customer bills.

Eircom said the price hike is a contribution to the cost of the provision and maintenance of infrastructure connecting each customer to their local telephone exchange.

The company has said that this cost currently exceeds the rental charged to customers and it makes up the deficit of about €170 million.

Eircom also said today the price of its directory enquiries services will go up from 48.25 cent per call to 52 cent per call.

The call answering service is also set to rise next month from €1.07 to €1.12 per month and its handset rental will go up from €1.95 to €2.05.