Saturday 1 October 2016

Demand for landline strong as SMEs migrate for best deal

Published 15/12/2015 | 02:30

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The number of Irish businesses with a landline telephone service has grown to 92pc from 86pc in 2013, while fixed broadband rocketed up to 91pc from 73pc in the two-year period.

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The figures come from the ComReg ICT Business Users Survey, which interviewed 500 decision makers from micro, small and medium businesses across Ireland.

While fixed broadband grew in the period between 2013 and 2015, the use of mobile broadband fell from 21pc to 18pc.

Almost 70pc of SMEs quizzed use social media to help promote and brand their businesses.

Facebook unsurprisingly proved to be the most commonly used. Around 55pc of the SMEs interviewed use Mark Zuckerberg's internet behemoth.

LinkedIn comes in second but still trails by some distance. Of those surveyed, 31pc used LinkedIn for their business while 26pc used Twitter and 22pc used Google+.

Just over 60pc have signed up to their telecoms services through bundle deals, with the combination of landline and broadband being the most popular bundle.

While Eir remained the largest landline provider to SMEs according to the survey, its share in the market fell by 11 percentage points to 52pc.

Vodafone made the largest gain, providing 27pc of the SMEs surveyed with a landline. In the two year-period Vodafone saw its share of the SME landline market grow by seven percentage points.

Across the board, companies' satisfaction with their landline providers has fallen. In 2013 some 77pc of those surveyed were pleased with their landline provider. That number has since tumbled to 72pc.

The percentage of SMEs with landlines starkly contrasts to the residential figure which is much lower at just 67pc. In a separate survey, also conducted by ComReg, it found that Irish landline ownership varied vastly across different age groups. It showed that while 46pc of those aged between 18 and 24 have a landline, some 88pc of those aged over 65pc have one.

While landline connections may be growing amongst SMEs there are some reasons outside of its primary use contributing to its rise.

According to the figures some 14pc of landline subscribers use it as it allows them access to a broadband service, while 37pc say they keep it for security and 39pc say that it is required for the business's alarm monitoring system.

Eir's drop-off in landline subscribers can be seen in switching figures generated from Comreg also. In 2013, some 59pc of the SMEs involved had been with their provider for in excess of three years. That number has been dramatically reduced in the 2015's figures with only 34pc being with their provider for over three years.

The figures showed a huge increase in the number of businesses who had been with their provider for under one year. In 2013 only 18pc had been with their provider for under a year while in the latest figures 35pc had been with their provider for under a year.

It would appear however that migration between suppliers may slow over the coming year as 45pc do not intend to switch in the period.

Interestingly in mobile, SME subscriptions seem to have gone in the other direction to landline, with Eir nabbing a bigger share. In 2013 Vodafone had a 54pc stake with 3 having a 34pc stake and Eir with 12pc. Now Eir's slice has grown to 20pc.

Irish Independent

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