Consumers devour 220pc more data since EU’s ‘roam at home’ rules arrived

26 Jun 2018

EU mobile data roaming poster. Image: Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock

We want all the data we can eat and people are more open to the potential of digital democracy and voting via smartphones.

Three’s customers are embracing roaming in the EU even further and are now using a staggering 220pc more data when travelling in the EU, compared with this time last year.

That’s according to the latest Three Connected Ireland Report conducted by Amárach Research among 1,000 smartphone users throughout the Republic of Ireland.

‘It’s interesting to see that Ireland’s digital evolution is continuing at pace, with access to data on smartphones becoming an increasingly integral part of everyday life’

One year after the new EU ‘roam like at home’ rules became law, more than a third (37pc) are now using more mobile data while travelling to the EU. When it comes to data usage levels on home soil, a similar 37pc are also using more mobile data than before.

More than two-thirds (67pc) say smartphones help them communicate more with friends and family, and 51pc believe people are much safer these days because of mobile phones.

About 44pc say their smartphone helps them to switch off from work and more than half (55pc) believe mobile phones support studying and learning new skills.

“It’s interesting to see that Ireland’s digital evolution is continuing at pace, with access to data on smartphones becoming an increasingly integral part of everyday life,” said Three CEO Robert Finnegan.

“It helps us to connect with those around us in such a seamless way that we almost take it for granted now.

“As Ireland’s leading mobile data network, we are investing heavily to ensure Three remains a leader in this space, for both business and leisure purposes. We’re investing in the network across Ireland to ensure that the country’s economy and society continues to reap the benefits of enhanced mobility and a better connected life.”

App-solutely social

Despite attracting controversy in recent months, Facebook remains the most popular app – it’s checked first thing in the morning by more than a fifth of us, while more than a quarter (27pc) use it last thing at night.

Other popular apps across the morning and before bed are email, WhatsApp and news apps.

Despite much public discussion recently around the age of digital consent and access to the internet, just four in 10 of us believe parents are aware of their children’s use of the internet. While 68pc say they’re aware of safeguarding measures to restrict children’s internet access, more than half (57pc) don’t know where to access advice on these protective measures, with more than a quarter (28pc) turning to Google as an information source.

The report found that when it comes to brand trust, 38pc of those who follow influencers say they ignore posts that are marked as paid promotions. Overall, 28pc follow bloggers or influencers online, with younger people even more likely to do so.

Of those who are fans, almost one in 10 (9pc) follow more than 20 social media stars. While 76pc don’t trust celebrity or influencer endorsements, almost one-fifth (19pc) admit they have bought something as a result of a recommendation from a blogger.

Irish companies are gaining ground when it comes to e-commerce, with a 49pc share of online sales at present – up from 42pc in Q4 2017.

Meanwhile, trust in mobile phone security for banking and bill-splitting apps is high, at 71pc. 55pc value being able to use their smartphone to make cashless payments but the perceived value of new technologies such as bill-splitting apps is lower, at just 45pc.

Information is power for the connected citizen

Following the pivotal Eighth Amendment referendum, more citizens have woken up to the potential of how their smartphones could be used in a digital democracy.

54pc of smartphone users want to use mobiles to exercise their voting rights, with strong support for this across both general elections and referendums.

When asked about how they decided to vote on the recent referendum, traditional print and broadcast media was identified as the primary source of information for 50pc of those surveyed.

Almost a third (29pc) formed their opinion by discussing the matter with friends or family members, while one in four (25pc) said they accessed websites for information on the key arguments.

Less than one in 10 (9pc) relied on public representatives to keep them up to date on the topic, with campaign leaflets and canvassers accounting for more than one-fifth, at 21pc.

When it comes to useful public information via smartphones, 77pc are open to getting text message or app alerts about local emergencies such as flooding or fallen trees.

Three-quarters (75pc) would value a service that issues traffic alerts about specific locations and 67pc would like a service that allowed them to send a photo of suspicious people or cars in the local area to authorities.

EU mobile data roaming poster. Image: Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years