Ireland’s agonisingly slow rollout of broadband may finally be reaching a tipping point with the decline in narrowband subscriptions accelerating.
The latest quarterly report from ComReg found that including mobile broadband, the total number of broadband subscriptions in Ireland stood at 991,970, a penetration rate of 22.9pc of the population.
The quarterly report showed that narrowband internet subscriptions declined 11pc in the first quarter of 2008, while broadband subscriptions increased by 12pc.
In total, there are 1.2 million internet subscribers in Ireland, out of which 78pc access the internet via DSL or alternative broadband means.
Incumbent Eircom’s overall share of the fixed-line market revenue fell by 2pc, compared with the first quarter of 2007. The company now has 68pc of Ireland’s telecoms market, while top five licensed operators have 22pc of the market and the remainder have 10pc.
In terms of mobile, penetration in Ireland now stands at 121pc, an increase of 278,00 during the quarter and amounting to 5.4 million 2G and 3G mobile subscriptions.
Since 2003, more than 1.3 million mobile phone users have changed mobile provider using number portability. In the first quarter of 2008, some 82,000 numbers were ported to an alternative mobile provider.
Some 2.3 billion text messages were sent by mobile users in the first quarter and total mobile voice traffic amounted to 2.5 billion voice minutes compared with 2.4 billion voice minutes originating from fixed lines.
Mobile minutes now account for 52pc of all calls in Ireland. Voice over IP is still obviously at a nascent stage in Ireland, accounting for just 2pc of voice traffic.
By John Kennedy