Mobile penetration
reaches the max

20 Dec 2005

In its quarterly report covering the third quarter of 2005, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has reported that mobile penetration in Ireland has for the first time hit 100pc. The regulator also reported a 19pc increase in broadband subscriptions with some 208,500 subscribers at the end of September.

The survey revealed that there are now some 4.05 million mobile subscribers nationally. It pointed to a growing trend whereby subscriber may now have more than one SIM card. A recent ComReg survey suggested that 7pc of residential mobile users have more than one active SIM card.

Having reached 100pc, Ireland has the 10th highest mobile penetration rate out of the EU 15 countries and is currently 3pc behind the EU average.

The report revealed that some 390,000 mobile users have switched mobile operator while retaining their mobile number since the launch of mobile number portability in 2003.

According to ComReg, prepaid mobile access now represents 76pc of the Irish mobile market, with 24pc of the market opting for bill pay.

In its report, ComReg also has claimed a steady decrease in metered dial-up subscriptions as a percentage of total internet connections. However, it acknowledged that Ireland’s broadband penetration remains among the lowest of EU countries measured with 4.3pc penetration of broadband access across all types of access.

Year on year, DSL access grew 194pc and 16pc quarter on quarter. DSL now represents 78pc of all broadband access with 163,000 DSL users in the country. Cable broadband subscriptions jumped 20pc during the quarter with a total of 18,000 users.

Fixed-wireless broadband access proved itself to be one of the fastest-growing broadband segment with 37pc quarter-on-quarter growth — a whopping 1,018pc year-on-year growth — amounting to some 24,600 subscribers. Satellite broadband also demonstrated strong growth, increasing 47pc on the quarter to reach 2,200 users.

In terms of market share, Eircom retained its 78pc share of the DSL retail market, unchanging from the previous quarter. Looking at the broadband market overall, retail DSL offered by Eircom accounts for 61pc of broadband subscriptions across all platforms.

By John Kennedy