TELECOMS & MOBILE
Mobile communication is accelerating: ComReg
by Emmet Ryan
Nearly two-thirds of Irish internet subscribers use a broadband service, according to new figures published by ComReg.
ComReg's report for the second quarter of 2007, covering the three-month period ending 30 June, says that the total number of internet users in Ireland has reached 1.1 million, with over 63 percent of these using a broadband service to go online.
This was the first quarterly report by the regulator to account for mobile broadband usage. The report found that there were almost 700,000 broadband subscribers in Ireland at the end of June, and mobile broadband subscriptions accounted for 45,000 of the overall figure, making it one of the fastest-growing segments of the broadband market, according to ComReg.
The growth of new technologies such as mobile broadband has seen the electronic communications market continue to perform well, with overall revenue for the market coming to EUR1.13 billion in the quarter, bringing the 12-month total to EUR4.51 billion.
But while the market in general has grown, former telecoms incumbent Eircom has seen its market share, in terms of revenue, fall: down 2 percent compared to the first quarter and a full 6 percent lower than where it stood at the end of the second quarter of 2006.
Still, it was a good period all round for mobile communications as mobile phone penetration reached 114 percent. The report said there are now 4.8 million subscriptions to either 2G or 3G phones. A total of 1.79 billion text messages were sent during the quarter, an average of 369 per subscription over the three-month period.
The gap between mobile and fixed-line usage of voice calling closed significantly during the quarter. There were around 2.13 billion voice minutes originating on mobile networks during the quarter, while there were 2.35 billion fixed originating minutes. Fixed minutes fell 9 percent year-on-year while mobile minutes grew by 22 percent during the same period.
This quarter marked the first period in which ComReg reported Three Ireland's market share, and the report showed the mobile operator trailing far behind its rivals. Vodafone continues to lead the way with 45.3 percent of the market, followed by O2 on 33.8 percent. Meteor's 18.1 percent share saw it remain safely in third spot while Three Ireland brings up the rear with just 2.8 percent market share.
Look out for further analysis of the ComReg report on ENN later on Monday.