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Irish broadband speeds on the rise

ComReg report highlights increases in subscriptions, coverage and mobile broadband usage

Broadband speeds in Ireland have increased, with 53.4% of all fixed broadband subscriptions offering speeds of 10Mbps or greater – up from 31.5% a year ago, according to ComReg’s latest review.

The Commission for Communications Regulation’s report for Q4 showed the number of subscriptions offering speeds of 30Mbps or greater also increased, with 35.2% of them offering such speeds in December, up from 20.4% in Q4 2012.

Additionally, broadband subscriptions in Ireland continued to increase during the fourth quarter as more people strive for internet access, increasing by 0.8% from Q3 to total 1,689,052.

It represents an increase of 1.3% year-on-year, although total retail revenues fell from more than €3.24 billion in 2012 to €3.15bn in 2013, according to ComReg.

The mobile broadband market continued to dominate in Q4, representing approximately 74.1% of all voice and internet subscriptions in terms of fixed and mobile connections.

Fixed market subscriptions in terms of voice and internet represented the remaining 25.9% of the market – there were 1,529,070 subscriptions in December, a rise of 1.4% since Q3.

Provider market share In Q4, a comparison of broadband providers shows that eircom had 37.9% of the market share for fixed broadband subscriptions, while UPC has 28.5%, and Vodafone had 16.6%.

Sky Ireland, Imagine and Digiweb had 4.8%, 4.1% and 2.1% of the Irish communications market share respectively, with all other providers accounting for the remaining 6.9%.

Next generation technologies including fibre-to-the-cabinet (VDSL) are also increasing, with ComReg suggesting there are now 74,540 VDSL broadband subscriptions in Ireland.

VDSL is capable of speeds of 100Mbps and eircom has suggested it will be supplying one million homes by the summer of 2014 with such internet capability.

The broadband penetration rate in Ireland now stands at an average of 67%, according to the ComReg report – up from 58.8% in Q3.

Mobile broadband and WiFi

An increase in mobile broadband and mobile data usage was also identified, which resulted in fewer text messages being sent. The total number sent was more than €2.15bn in Q4 2013, down 27.6% on the previous year. However, data volumes continued to increase, rising by 43.7% in the year, slightly exceeding 12,273 terabytes.

The number of Wi-Fi hotspots and access points rose by nearly 30% and 21% respectively, while Wi-Fi minutes rose by 72.9% during Q4. Greater usage of mobile broadband and tablet data in Ireland is likely to be the predominant cause of the increase.

Meanwhile, the average revenue per user in Q4 2013 was €27 per month, down from €29 in Q4 of 2012. The drop in these figures is due to lower-priced mobile plans and the fact that many broadband providers are selling bundled products. Reductions in roaming rates and the costs of terminations can also be linked to the decreasing costs.

In terms of monthly residential DSL and cable pricing, Ireland is ranked in 21st place of all European countries, five places behind the average (figures based on Vodafone’s simply broadband package). The figures look for the lowest monthly figure available in each country.

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