We pay 36pc more than EU average for mobile calls
IRISH consumers face some of the highest charges in Europe to use their mobile phones.
New figures from the OECD show that we are paying 36pc more than the average in Europe for making calls.
Ireland is the fifth most expensive out of 21 countries surveyed by the OECD for a basket of prepaid calls, with charges here nearly twice as high as in Britain.
The price gap has widened considerably since a similar report last year when it stood at 22pc, the latest ComReg Quarterly Key Data Report shows.
The cost comparison is based on OECD figures for a prepaid basket of 40 calls in February 2013, looking at the cheapest packages offered by major mobile phone companies.
In Ireland's case, the package used was O2's Speak Easy Experience Plus €20 Top Up, with the costs coming in at around €18 compared to an average of less than €14 in Europe.
The OECD figures show that Irish billpay costs are lower than the EU norm, with a typical bill for a heavy mobile user, making 300 calls a month, 14pc cheaper than average.
For medium users, the average Irish bill was 16pc cheaper, while for light users it was 0.1pc dearer than average.
Irish prepaid phone users spent an average of €18 a month while those on billpay spent €41 a month – in both cases that's 8pc less than a year ago.
Texting has seen a slump – even though we sent a whopping 2.69 billion of them in the first quarter – down 15.6pc since the same time last year.
Nearly 9,000 people a month are switching mobile phone providers in a bid to get a better deal, the report shows.
There's also been a surge in the number of smartphones and tablets with in-built internet access, with 2.4 million such devices now in use in Ireland.