ComReg report highlights increase in broadband speeds and mobile minutes

The Commission for Communications Regulation has released its quarterly key data report on the Irish communications market for Q2 2016.

Maeve McLaughlin
by Maeve McLaughlin on 13th September, 2016

ComReg’s quarterly report provides some interesting stats on broadband, mobile and home phone and TV usage across the country.

Broadband penetration

In Q2 2016, there were 1,172,191 residential broadband subscriptions across Ireland (excluding mobile broadband). In total, there were 1.68 million active broadband subscriptions in Ireland in the quarter, which represents a decrease of 1.8% on Q1.

However, there was a shift in terms of types of broadband, as there was an increase in total fixed line broadband subscriptions, while mobile broadband subscriptions fell.

Broadband speed

According to ComReg, average fixed broadband speeds are continuing to increase:

  • In Q2 2016, three-quarters (75.1%) of all fixed broadband subscriptions were equal to or greater than 10Mbps, up from 69.8% in Q2 2015; and
  • 60.1% of all fixed broadband subscriptions were equal to or greater than 30Mbps, up from 51.1% in Q2 2015.

In terms of what speed customers sign up for, the data shows that most business users subscribe to broadband services with advertised download speeds of between 2Mbps and 10Mbps while most residential users subscribe to broadband services with speeds of between 30Mbps and 100Mbps.

However, ComReg points out that many larger business users access their broadband services over dedicated leased lines, which are not included in the report. Leased line speeds can range up to speeds in excess of 1Gbps.

Broadband market share

According to the data that ComReg received from operators for Q2 2016, eir had 33.7% of total fixed broadband subscriptions, followed by Virgin Media who had 27.4% of subscriptions.

Vodafone had 17.7% (excluding mobile broadband subscriptions) and Sky Ireland had 11.1% market share.

All others combined accounted for the remaining 10.1% share of fixed broadband subscriptions.

Mobile and home phone

We’re still a nation of talkers, with 4.17 billion minutes clocked up on fixed and mobile phones in the quarter - this is a slight increase on the previous quarter, up 0.03%.

Mobile minutes account for three-quarters (75.7%) of voice minutes - and the gap between mobile and fixed minutes is growing, with fixed voice minutes down 6.5% quarter-on-quarter.

The number of voice and data subscribers using 3G/4G networks increased to 4,100,830 this quarter, up by 1.3% from Q1 2016 and up by 15.1% compared to Q2 2015.

This could go some way to explaining the decline in the number of SMS messages sent by mobile users. Still high, at 1.4 billion in the quarter, it’s down 16.6% on the same quarter in 2015.

Perhaps these 3G/4G users are moving to the likes of WhatsApp and Viber, rather than using traditional text messaging.

Data usage across fixed and mobile internet

In Q2 2016 an average fixed broadband subscriber used 92.5 GB of data per month - and the majority of traffic is generated by residential subscribers, with an average monthly data usage per residential subscriber reaching 98.5 GB.

This highlights the importance of thinking about an unlimited broadband subscription - with more and more data being used, they can really help with budgeting, as the bill won’t change no matter how much data you use.

With regards to mobile data:

  • Average traffic per smartphone reached 3.0GB of data; and
  • Average traffic per dedicated mobile broadband subscriber was 8.1 GB of data.


ComReg’s report also includes some data from the Nielsen TV Audience Measurement (TAM) Establishment Survey.

The survey indicated that there were 1,574,000 TV homes in Ireland in July 2016, which is a slight decrease - down by 0.3% since January 2016.

And the growth of digital TV is really evident, with digital TV homes representing 98.8% of all TV homes compared to 78.6% in May 2012.

Homes with a pay TV service - be it cable, satellite of IPTV - have generally been stable since January 2014 at 70-71% of all TV homes.

And broadband is present in over three-quarters of TV homes (76%). This could mean that, in addition to having a paid TV service, these customers could be streaming TV and movies from sites like Netflix.

The report is available in full on ComReg’s website.