Wednesday 22 November 2017

Our mobile phone bills biggest in Europe

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

IRISH people spend more on their mobiles than anyone else in Europe, a report revealed yesterday, as An Post became a surprise entrant in the mobile phone market.

A report from the communications regulator Comreg published yesterday shows it is a lucrative business as we spend way more than our European neighbours on our mobiles -- an average of €36 each per month which is over 64pc more than the EU average of €22.

But we also use them more than most, clocking up an average of 227 minutes of talktime a month, which is twice as much as the Germans and nearly 30pc more than the British. The French are the only ones to talk more by mobile at 249 minutes a month.

We also send an average of 192 texts each a month and rising, but we're sending less photos and other multimedia messages, with these having fallen by 25pc.

Comreg attributed this to the popularity of social networking sites, such as Facebook, with people opting to upload pictures directly on to the internet.

When costs are compared for similar usage rates, Irish mobile charges compare favourably with many European countries, coming in at 10pc lower than average for prepaid phones, which still continue to dominate the market, and between 5pc and 40pc lower for bill-paid phone accounts.

Two-thirds of people in Ireland use prepaid phones, but the share is falling with a third of subscribers now opting for bill-paid mobiles.

At 4.46 million, there are now more mobile phones in use here than there are people in the country. With the market so buoyant, An Post is trying to woo pre-pay customers with rates of 20c per minute to any network at any time, and 9c texts. The company has invested €2m in its virtual mobile service which operates off the Vodafone network.

Meanwhile, the number of broadband subscriptions has soared by 19pc since last year to 1.5 million, which is above the EU average.

Communications Minister Eamon Ryan attributed the increase to a mix of government policy and private investment.

Irish Independent

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