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Irish talk less but pay more for mobile phone use

Irish people talk less but pay more to use their mobile phones than many other citizens of Europe, a new survey has shown.

The mobile phone industry has always claimed that the reason our mobile phone habit is the priciest in Europe, is because of our gift of the gab, but a new Eurostat study reveals that we actually chat less than several other countries.

On average, Irish people spend 3.4 minutes a day talking on their mobiles -- which, although more than in many other countries, is much less than the six minutes a day in Cyprus, 5.3 minutes in Finland, 4.2 minutes in France and 3.8 minutes in Portugal -- but most of these countries have lower bills than we do.


The figures are contained in a Eurostat consumer report which was published yesterday, revealing that Irish people pay the highest prices in Europe for telecommunications, at 16pc above the EU average in 2005.

And the trend is still continuing as Irish people spend €44.07 a month on average on their mobile phones -- over twice as much as the more talkative Portuguese at €20.83, while Finns spend €29.40 and the French spend €34.66, the latest figures for 2007 from the Irish regulator ComReg reveal.

The Irish mobile phone industry last night defended their position, saying that the difference in bills between Ireland and France, for example, might be accounted for by much higher text use in Ireland, despite the shorter talk times.

Irish people were still in the top quarter in Europe for talking on their mobile phones, and it would be necessary to study the report more closely before commenting further, said Tommy McCabe of Ibec's Telecommunications and Internet Federation.

The report also reveals that there are more post offices per person in Ireland than in most other European countries with one for every 2,642 inhabitants, compared with one for every 13,000 people in worst-served Spain.

However, if you've ever spent ages looking for a postbox, it's because there are relatively few of the latter here -- just 1.5 per 1000 people, compared to as many as 3.3 elsewhere.

Irish people still prefer to flash the cash, with 52pc saying it is their preferred method of payments, for purchases of €100 or more, with 28pc preferring to use credit cards, 11pc opting for cheques, and 3pc going for bank or postal transfers.

This compares with an average of 49pc who use cash throughout Europe, 36pc who use credit cards and just 7pc going for cheques.

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