New operators will surely mean prices and data allowances will stay at, or below, other European countries
When Dixons Carphone launches its new iD mobile operator next month, it will bring the number of operators in Ireland to eight. A ninth operator, UPC, will launch in the Autumn.
If either of these new operators gets anywhere close to the 6pc market share they're aiming for, it will almost certainly keep prices and data allowances at, or below, other European countries.
At today's prices, Irish voice and texting rates come in at around the European average. But data deals in Ireland are actually among the cheapest in Europe. In an age where Spotify, Apple Music and Netflix are taking over our mobile usage patterns, few other countries offer 15GB of 4G data per month for €20.
The two new operators are set to offer different inducements.
Dixons Carphone's iD operator may lead off with 'free' iPhones on two-year contracts, if it follows its British network offerings. Meanwhile, UPC has said that its main audience will be its existing 300,000 UPC television and broadband customers, offering so-called 'quad-play' services on one bill.
A third of us, Dixons Carphone claims, are planning to change providers in the next 12 months. This might be accurate. Changing operators these days is simply a matter of a couple of phone calls and a few hours with your existing number retained.
But the advent of the new operators won't change a few common sense basics that everyone should know.
For example, it is still a better deal for the ordinary person to buy a sim-only plan with a separate phone than it is to buy a 'free' phone on a two-year contract.
Research conducted by the Irish Independent indicates that buying an iPhone 6 separately to an operator contract saves between €200 and €400 over the lifetime of the plan, depending on the operator.
And it is also wise to plan ahead for bigger data allowances when you next look at your mobile package. The average Irish mobile user is doubling their data usage every year, according to the telecoms regulator.
It currently stands at almost 2GB per month. So anything less than 5GB per month is bad planning for most ordinary smartphone users.