Ireland’s mobile broadband access increases as home broadband lowers
Survey reveals increasing numbers of Irish customers are using mobiles to access the internet rather than traditional home broadband
According to a European Commission survey, one fifth of people (21%) use internet access via mobile to make cheaper calls over the internet through a portable device such as a smartphone or tablet.
While home internet connections are still prominent, penetrating almost two-thirds (65%) of EU households, their numbers have declined by three percentage points since the last survey, with mobile phone internet access, particularly among Irish consumers on the rise.
The use of mobile phones to access the internet has risen consistently since 2009, with current figures suggesting it has penetrated more than half of mobile phone owners (52%).
Ireland was named as one of the main countries where the trend for mobile internet subscriptions was currently challenging home broadband.
Their broadband access rates in homes dropped 5%, while mobile subscriptions grew 20%. In total, the number of Irish homes with both mobile internet and home broadband grew 11 percentage points.
Other countries which showed similar trends were Italy, Spain and Luxembourg where the number of households with internet connections at home and internet access via mobiles increased 10 percentage points, 24 percentage points and 12 percentage points respectively.
These countries also noted an increase in the number of households with mobile internet access only – this time increasing by up to 12 percentage points comparing to Ireland’s 8 percentage points.
Big data, small price
It isn’t just the stalling growth of broadband which could be behind the changing trends in Irish internet access though.
Facts concerning data consumption were also raised, with 42% of customers unaware of the data consumption limits on their home broadband. Moreover, just over one quarter (26%) were aware that the information was included in their contracts.
Similarly, 60% of Europeans didn’t know their maximum broadband speeds and of those that did only 65% claimed real-time speeds matched those advertised – 5% less than last year.
What this means for Irish internet access
These stats were taken from the E-Communications and Telecom Single Market Survey, carried out on behalf of the European Commission.
The findings of the survey showed that while the overall trend in Irish internet access, and indeed internet access in many other EU Member States, is for mobile subscriptions to win favour from home broadband, this does not mean the latter service is redundant.
Improvements over customer service were well noted in the survey, with 74% of people saying their internet provider is easy to contact and 71% saying staff are helpful.
This means that European and Irish internet access in particular has come a long way. Customers are now exposed to a far greater level of choice – both from internet access via mobile subscriptions and home broadband services.
Comparing tariffs and offers is the key to unlocking the best value service for broadband in Ireland and other EU Member States and is something which needs to be improved – especially as the survey indicated that 62% of people did not read regular comparisons of product bundles.