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Eir dials up rise in mobile subscriptions after strong GoMo launch

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New entrant: The GoMo service was launched by Eir Mobile last October

New entrant: The GoMo service was launched by Eir Mobile last October

New entrant: The GoMo service was launched by Eir Mobile last October

Eir's GoMo service has taken a chunk of business from Vodafone and Three, new figures from Ireland's regulator suggest.

The budget mobile operator service, which launched in October with a €10 'for life' offer and raced to 100,000 customers in two months, has reversed Eir's declining mobile subscription numbers. The ComReg figures show Eir's overall mobile subscription base jumping by 2pc (from 19.1pc to 21.1pc) in the three-month period measured at the end of 2019. By contrast, Vodafone's subscription base fell by 1pc in the same period, while Three fell by 0.8pc, an unprecedented drop for both operators in so short a time period.

However, Vodafone and Three remain the two largest mobile operators in the Irish market, with 34.9pc and 31.9pc respectively.

Elsewhere, the figures show Ireland is undergoing a surge in fibre broadband sign-ups, with data from ComReg revealing a 79pc annual increase in the high-speed broadband technology.

In all, there are now 162,000 fibre-to-the-home broadband connections, each capable of offering up to 1,000Mbs connectivity. The take-up will be keenly felt by families asked to stay at home to work and study during the coronavirus pandemic.

The figures relate to telecoms operators already offering services and do not include any future fibre broadband connections under the National Broadband Plan.

Eir recently rolled out 330,000 rural fibre-to-the-home lines, while Siro, the joint venture between Vodafone and the ESB, now has almost 300,000 available connections.

There continues to be a rise in overall broadband speeds across the country, with ComReg reporting that 90pc of Irish fixed broadband lines now record over 10Mbs in speed, while 82pc can reach over 30Mbs. It also claims that 36pc of our fixed broadband connections now reach over 100Mbs in speed.

The National Broadband Plan's threshold for inclusion in the State-backed scheme is 30Mbs and will be available to at least a quarter of households, as remaining non-fixed broadband lines do not have similarly high rates of penetration at over 30Mbs.

Eir remains the biggest fixed-line broadband provider, followed by Virgin and Vodafone (which uses Eir's network for much of its fixed-line service). Vodafone (up 1.2pc to 19.6pc) has gained market share, partly at the expense of Eir (down 1.7pc to 30.8pc) and Virgin (down 0.5pc to 25.9pc).

The ComReg figures show that average data consumption for fixed-line broadband continues to rise, now at 134.9GB for businesses and 217.6GB for homes.

However, Virgin cable broadband still has a higher average monthly data consumption rate (289GB) than fibre-to-the-premises (219GB).

Smartphone owners now use an average of 7.7GB per month of data (up 20pc), but send 12pc fewer texts over traditional operators than they used to.

The figures also show the continuing decline of voice traffic (down 6.7pc on a year ago) in Ireland and a collapse in fixed voice traffic over landlines (down 20.1pc).

Even mobile voice traffic (down 3.5pc) has declined as people increasingly move on to online networks such as FaceTime to make their audio and video calls.

In total, mobile voice traffic (3.1 billion minutes per quarter) is now five times higher than fixed voice traffic (620 million minutes per quarter), although this is only the voice traffic measured through traditional telecoms operators, and does not include online voice and video calls.

However, there has only been a slight decline (3pc) in fixed voice subscriptions, with such subscriptions still being deemed necessary for broadband connections.

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