Business News

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Six things you didn’t know about the Irish mobile phone market

Published 03/07/2014 | 02:30

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The average phone call abroad (within the EU) is 20c per minute for Irish users
The average phone call abroad (within the EU) is 20c per minute for Irish users
Click to see a bigger version of the graphic
Click to see a bigger version of the graphic

WHO is making money in the Irish mobile market? Who is getting fleeced on roaming charges? And what is happening to our monthly mobile bills? Here are six things you may not have known about the Irish mobile market.

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1. Most people don’t pay much for roaming

Although it is possible to get caught by large roaming bills, most Irish people get around the steepest charges.

The average phone call abroad (within the EU) is 20c per minute for Irish users, which is just below the EU average. For data charges it is more pronounced, with a megabyte (MB) of data costing an average of 10c for Irish users abroad, which is less than half the EU average of 22c per megabyte. This is probably down to budget roaming packages pitched at travellers to the UK, where the biggest operators are owned by the same companies as Ireland’s operators.

2. Meteor has almost caught O2 Ireland

O2, traditionally one of the ‘big two’ mobile operators here, is losing market share fast. It’s down to 24pc. Vodafone, by contrast, has 39pc. And Meteor (combining eMobile) has 21pc.

Meteor was always a long way back from the big two. But it has almost caught O2, which has been in a holding pattern for the last year without much investment or marketing here.

3. Tesco Mobile has captured a decent chunk of the market

As a virtual operator, Tesco Mobile has risen steadily to nearly 5pc of the Irish mobile market, again showing the power of cross-marketing. If you consider that 3 Ireland, after €1bn of investment, has only achieved 9pc of the market, it’s not a bad return.

4. Vodafone is raking it in compared to others

Market share is one thing. Making money is another. Vodafone out-performs its rivals when it comes to taking a share of the industry’s revenue. Although it has 39pc of Irish customers using its services, it has 44pc of the market’s revenue.

The combined O2/3 network does reasonably well, with a third of mobile customers and 35pc of industry revenue. Meteor does less well, with 21pc of customers and 18pc of market revenue while Tesco Mobile is a budget users’ network, commanding 4.6pc of customers but just 2.3pc of revenue.

5. Bills are still falling

The cost of our mobile bills is continuing to fall. The average mobile contract bill is €40 per month, while the average prepaid cost is €16 per month.

If you’re paying more, now is a good time to wonder why. Operators are getting an average of €26 per month from Irish mobile phone users, down from

€28 per month last year and way down from the €45 level it was at some six years ago.

6. Mobile data use is soaring

Today, the average Irish smartphone user goes through 0.8GB of data per month.

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