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Text messages are on the way out - but we're eating up huge amounts of data

The new ComReg report also found that Ireland is expensive for home broadband, but relatively cheap for mobile bills.

Image: Shutterstock

THE GROWING AVAILABILITY of free online calls and instant messages seems to be taking a toll on the popularity of the humble text message – and on ordinary phonecalls.

According to the latest statistics from ComReg, the total amount of voice minutes is down 0.6% compared to this time last year.

The average mobile voice subscriber is also now sending just 94 texts a month, down 16.4% on 2015 – reflecting the rise in online mobile services like Whatsapp and Facebook messenger.

In total, 1.38 billion text messages were sent in the three months to the end of September, representing a 16.4% drop compared to the previous year.

We are sending less than half as many SMS messages as in 2012, meanwhile.

shutterstock_457870672 Source: Shutterstock


The amount of data being used is rising hugely, meanwhile.

The average person now uses 3.4GB of data every month, up 68.8% on 2015 – partly due to the wider use of video on social networks. Almost four out of every 10 mobile subscribers (38.8%) are actively using 4G networks, up 5% on 2015.

The average amount of mobile minutes per mobile subscriber used rose slightly on an annual basis, 0.5% to 211.7 minutes.

The report also shows that the average monthly mobile bill has fallen to €24.32, down from €25.10 at the same point in 2015.

The average prepaid monthly mobile bill here is €9.21 – cheaper 38% cheaper than the average price of six western European countries, but marginally more expensive than in the UK (€8.35). The bill sampled was for 50 minutes, 100 texts and 100MB data.

shutterstock_276037583 Source: Shutterstock


Fixed broadband subscriptions rose to 1.34 million, up 3.6% compared to the same time in 2015.

Around 83% of Irish households have broadband access (either home or mobile) – just above the EU average of 80%.

Mobile and fixed-line customers are also using more data at faster download speeds. Approximately 76.5% of all fixed broadband subscriptions are equal to, or greater than, 10Mbps, up from 71.9% in 2015.

The percentage of fixed broadband subscriptions equal or greater than 30mbps is 62.5%, meanwhile – up from 54.2% for the same point last year.

Yet the Comreg report also found that Ireland is relatively expensive for home broadband.

The average bill here is €35.44, compared to €32.62 in the Netherlands, €28.11 in the UK, €26.50 in Germany and €23.62 in Denmark.

shutterstock_170100236 Source: Shutterstock

Other statistics included in ComReg’s report for the third quarter of 2016 include:

  • Voice traffic measured in minutes was down 5.1% on fixed-line and 0.6% on mobile compared to 2015.
  • Mobile voice minutes dropped 1.1% over the quarter, but remain 1% up on an annual basis.
  • Landline minutes rose 2% over the quarter, but dropped 5.1% on an annual basis.
  • Ireland’s average monthly price for a landline is €32.47, more expensive than Spain, Denmark and Germany – but about the same as the UK.

Read: Around 10,000 Irish homes had their TV connection shut off today

Read: Ireland ditches texting for web messaging as phones continue to outnumber people

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