Mobile demand in Ireland outstrips fixed-line comms


21 Nov 2003

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Mobile is now the dominant form of telecommunications in Ireland, with numbers fast overtaking the installed base of fixed-line connections, according to Vodafone Ireland CEO Paul Donovan. who indicated that 60pc of phone customers in Ireland are now using mobile devices.

Donovan (pictured) was speaking at yesterday’s siliconrepublic.com ‘Driving the Digital Society’ briefing, which focused on the theme of mobility. Quoting research from ComReg, he said that revenues in the mobile market earlier this year were 46pc of telecoms market revenues in Ireland and that this figure should only increase.

The Vodafone Ireland chief said that Ireland, with 84pc mobile penetration of the population, was one of the most mobile societies in Europe. Ireland, he said, was one of the highest text users per capita in the world and that voice usage on the Vodafone network in Ireland was 40pc higher than the European average. “There are now 100,000 users of Vodafone live handsets in Ireland, which is a huge adoption and we anticipate a massive upsurge in the uptake of data services,” he said.

Donovan went on to say that by the end of 2005, 30pc of the company’s customers in Ireland will have MMS-enabled phones. He added that the MMS function will not just be used for picture messaging but for a variety of additional commercial and ‘infotainment’ services, not to mention enabling mobile workforces for Irish companies.

“Mobile is fast becoming the largest segment of the Irish telecoms market with 60pc of telecom customers being mobile customers and almost 50pc of telecoms revenues coming from the mobile market,” Donovan said.

“We are investing heavily in our infrastructure to meet growing demand and our weekly investment in our network is now averaging at around €3.5m.

“The situation in Ireland will soon mirror that of Sweden, where a large number of customers have done away with fixed-line phones altogether,” he said. “This is particularly the case in the business market where we are saying to companies to consider moving away from fixed-line infrastructure and make the most of the mobile use in their companies in terms of using text messaging, for example, to relay vital business-critical information.”

Donovan’s assertion was backed up by an earlier comment made at the briefing by the CEO of the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland, John Dunne, who said that 25pc of homes in Finland have done away with fixed-line telecoms in favour of mobile only. “In Ireland, 94pc of SMEs use mobile phones,” said Dunne.

“We are already seeing CRM being delivered over mobile devices and that will be a great enabler for SMEs in Ireland,” he added.

Indicating a growing desire amongst business customers reduce their telephony costs, Donovan said: “Telecoms expenditure is a luxury that must be driven down at all costs and business managers want to see a return on investment from the appropriate technologies. There needs to be a major shift in telecoms and IT spend towards wireless.

“For example, text messaging is the most undervalued communications medium that exists in business today. Switched on companies are using text messaging to automate the relaying of daily sales stats to key executives and entire workforces are being managed through group messaging and our EmailAnywhere technology allows workers to access email and calendar information on their mobile handsets.”

By John Kennedy