More than 1m Irish mobile subscribers are actually machines

14 Mar 2019

Image: © besjunior/

The machines are marching as M2M snaps up 16pc of market share for mobile subscriptions.

Machine-to-machine (M2M) mobile subscriptions in Ireland have surpassed the 1m milestone, telecoms regulator ComReg has confirmed.

In its Q4 2018 quarterly key data report the regulator revealed that M2M subscriptions jumped 22.2pc year on year to reach 1,012,434 subscribers.

As a result, machines with SIMs inside them accounted for 16.1pc of all mobile subscriptions in the Republic of Ireland in the fourth quarter of 2018.

These machines could include anything from SIMs inside car engines to vending machines, industrial control systems and more.

In Q4 2018 Vodafone Group had the largest market share of M2M subscriptions at 50.7pc, followed by Three Group with 47.4pc. Eir had the remaining 2.0pc of M2M subscriptions.

Apps are eating traditional telecoms revenues

The latest data also confirms what we already kind of know about data-intensive apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp eating into traditional operators’ lucrative bread baskets of voice and text.

On a monthly basis, an average mobile voice subscriber used 213 minutes (a 0.5pc annual decrease), sent 70 texts (a 16.3pc annual decrease) and used 6.4GB of data (a 28.7pc annual increase).

ComReg also confirmed that 4G is now the dominant generation of mobile on the island. It reported that 50.8pc of all mobile subscribers were actively using 4G in Q4 2018, up from 47.2pc the previous year.

Crucially, the results also indicate that Ireland is a mobile-first nation.

Total voice traffic minutes increased by 0.7pc in Q4 but were 3pc lower than in Q4 2017. Mobile minutes form the majority of voice minutes at 81pc, with fixed (landline) minutes representing the remaining 19pc. Mobile voice minutes increased by 2.5pc while fixed voice minutes decreased by 6.2pc in Q4.

In terms of broadband, fixed-line subscriptions were up 0.8pc to 1.43m compared with Q3 2018 and up by 2.2pc compared with Q4 2017. ComReg estimated that the broadband penetration rate stood at 68.5pc in Q4.

It reported that in Q4, 87.4pc of all fixed broadband subscriptions were greater than or equal to 10Mbps. It also estimated that 77.2pc of broadband subscriptions were above or equal to 30Mbps in the fourth quarter, up from 72pc the previous year.

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