The Irish are even more enthusiastic about the mobile phone than they were a year ago, with 116pc penetration at the end of 2007 according to the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) in its latest quarterly report.
While 7.58 billion text messages were sent by Irish mobile users in 2007 — up 7pc on 2006 — 51pc of all voice traffic was generated across mobile phones also, and mobile minutes saw a 10pc growth in the past quarter alone.
In the last quarter of 2007 alone, 2.12 billion text messages were sent by Irish mobile-phone users.
Interestingly, the ComReg report found that Ireland’s ranking in the EU for cost of both pre-paid and post-paid mobile packages has changed significantly in the past year: while our ranking amongst the 19 EU member states for pre-paid stood at No 9 in February 2006 this dropped to a more competitive position of No 6 by November 2007.
However, post-paid mobile rates across Ireland have actually increased for high users, so heavy users of bill-pay mobile services in Ireland have actually got the raw end of the deal.
While mobile grew, broadband also enjoyed growth of 20.54pc year on year, mobile broadband included.
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan TD said: “This latest report is very positive for a number of reasons. Mobile broadband growth is up 44pc in just three months, while total broadband take-up has increased by almost 12pc, in the same timeframe.
Of particular significance is the huge growth in mobile-broadband take-up. This is evidence that a strong and competitive market for these services is developing, and at a rapid pace.”
However, Minister Ryan added that there is still a need to continue to ensure that broadband roll-out remains on target, explaining that the forthcoming July launch of the National Broadband Scheme will help bring broadband to rural parts of the country that have yet to receive it.
Minister Ryan added that a policy paper for public consultation on next generation networks will soon be published by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.
By Marie Boran