The Friday Interview: Josephine Conaghan, 3G Stores

12 May 2006

Josephine Conaghan (pictured) is managing director of 3G stores in Ireland.

Ireland is now at 102pc mobile penetration. Is the market saturated or is there more room for growth in the market?

I wouldn’t say there’s a huge amount of growth left in the market, but from the network operators’ point of view they have to protect their base.
O2 and Vodafone would be the most vulnerable, Meteor is 14pc and growing. 3 Ireland is in customer acquisition mode. It is investing heavily in customers and is about to launch prepay services.

What trends are shaping the Irish market for mobile and entertainment products?

The iPod has demonstrated the power of music and video in your hands. People expect to carry around their entertainment and the latest generation of 3G phones would be efficient in that.
In the end the ideal will be to merge all your entertainment — music, videos, games, e-books — into one unit. Instead of carrying PSP, iPod and phone, you will be travelling with your DVDs and games and music all on one device.
The next generation will see a convergence of the devices. You are seeing this already with Apple and Motorola, which have combined to join the iPod and the mobile phone and Apple is working with players like Nokia to extend this further.

What products will Irish consumers be buying this summer?

High-definition TV (HDTV) for sure! We’re going to create a digital hub in a few of our shops to show how all this equipment joins up. We don’t do TVs but will display HDTV, the Mac mini for home-produced photos and DVDs, the Xbox 360 and iTunes on TV. We will be creating an education centre in our Henry St store with different sessions on music, digital photography and DVDs. All of this is driven by broadband.

On broadband, would you agree that Ireland has been slow to adopt broadband?

Yes. A lot of blame has been put on non-availability, but to be honest consumers have been slow to take it up. This is why we’ve gone for this education theme in stores on photography and music.
We want to show people what they can do with broadband. For a lot of providers the problem is showing people the benefits of broadband, but it’s clear that once you use it you’ll never go back.

By John Kennedy