Friday 22 September 2017

Revenues down for telecoms firms and mobile operators

Samsung Galaxy S4 (left) and Apple iPhone 5
Samsung Galaxy S4 (left) and Apple iPhone 5

Adrian Weckler Technology Editor

QUARTERLY revenues for the Irish telecoms industry have fallen by almost 5pc in the last year while mobile operators' customer revenues have fallen by 7pc, according to new figures from regulator Comreg.

Irish telecoms operators booked €896m in revenue for the three months between April and June, down 1.8pc on the first quarter of the year and down 4.6pc on the same period last year.

Worst hit were fixed-line revenues, including telephone and broadband services, which fell 7.4pc to €486m for the quarter.

But Irish mobile operators are continuing to see their margins fall, with the average revenue per user falling from €29.40 a year ago to €27.40 today.

This fall-off in monthly revenue, which takes into account voice, texting and mobile internet usage, comes as roaming fees continue to fall and the transition to smartphones continues. More than seven in 10 phones being sold in Ireland are now smartphones which can access social messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook Messaging.

There is also substantial movement in the market share of Irish mobile operators. Excluding mobile broadband and 'machine-to-machine' subscriptions, O2 Ireland fell from 29pc to 26pc in market share in the last year, while Vodafone fell from 41.6pc to 40.6pc. Combined, Meteor and eMobile grew from 20.6pc to 21.5pc, while 3 Ireland grew from 5.3pc to 7.6pc. Tesco Mobile grew from 3.5pc to 4.3pc.

There was a large fall-off in the use of landlines, with people spending 9.2pc less time talking on fixed-line phones. There was a smaller decline (1.4pc) in mobile voice traffic compared to the same quarter one year ago.

The number of broadband subscriptions in Ireland increased marginally (0.7pc) to 1.13m. However, there was a sharp fall (8.1pc) in the number of mobile broadband subscriptions, typically represented by laptop 'dongles'. This was offset by a 5.3pc rise in the number of Irish fixed-line (landline or cable) broadband subscriptions.

The figures show that the number of cable broadband subscriptions has jumped by 13pc in the last year, while the number of landline broadband subscriptions rose by 3pc.

The figures reveal that Eircom's share of the fixed-line market has fallen from 59pc to 52pc in the last two years. BT is the next biggest fixed-line provider with 13pc, while UPC has 9pc and Vodafone has 8pc.

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Comreg added that machines in Ireland are talking to each other in such great numbers that the telecoms regulator has begun measuring their number.

According to Comreg, there are now 340,248 'machine-to-machine' (M2M) mobile subscriptions which are separate to smartphone or mobile broadband subscriptions. Examples of such M2M applications include alarm monitoring systems or ATM machines.

Analysis firm Machina Research predicts there will be 25 million M2M online connections here by 2020.

Irish Independent

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