Group of young people standing against a wall using mobile phones

ComReg report shows only a quarter of consumers have ever switched mobile provider

The survey shows that 98% of the Irish population now own a mobile.

A new report from ComReg - the first of its kind in Ireland - has shed some light on Irish people’s relationships with their mobile phones.

Mobile phone ownership and bills

It’s probably not a surprise to know that nearly everyone in Ireland now owns a mobile phone. Ownership is lower among those over 65 - the most common reason people gave for not having a mobile was that they had access to a landline telephone.

Despite the increase in expensive handsets over the past number of years, it appears many are still opting to buy these outright, with half of Irish consumers on prepay plans. These plans are especially popular with people between 16 and 24 and those over 65.

Those with prepay plans spend around half that of those on bill-pay plans - with an average monthly spend of €20.58, versus €40.28. This is potentially down to those on bill-pay plans being on a deal which includes the cost of their handset.

If you’ve been on a bill-pay deal for a while - say 18 or 24 months - it’s likely your phone will already be paid off and you could save by switching to a SIM-only deal. Deals start at just €10 per month and you’ll generally get a 30-day contract, so you won’t be tied down.

For those in urban areas, the price of calls, texts and data is the most important issue when choosing a mobile phone operator.

Switch to a SIM only deal and save

Rural v urban mobile phone issues

As we’ve often seen with broadband in Ireland, availability and speeds vary massively between urban and rural areas. And there are plenty of differences between mobile phone users’ experiences depending on where they live, too.

For one thing, mobile phone ownership is lower in rural areas - which seems to be because people in these areas get a more reliable service through their landlines. And for those who keep their landline as well as a mobile, it’s because the quality of their landline phone is superior

In rural areas:

  • more people experienced service issues compared to urban users;
  • 63% experienced service issues with calls or SMS throughout their home on a daily basis (compared to 43% of those in urban areas);
  • 42% of those living in remote areas have experienced service issues when travelling in a car or bus, compared to 13% in urban areas.

On a related note - perhaps unsurprisingly - the most important consideration for people in rural areas when they’re choosing a deal is network coverage.

View our guide on mobile phone coverage in Ireland

Switching mobile network can make a big difference

The research found that only 24% of consumer had ever switched mobile phone provider in the past. We’ve previously seen that fear factors tend to put people off switching - people are worried that it’s too much hassle, they won’t save money, or they’ll lose service if they make a switch.

However, this research showed that:

  • of those who had changed or upgraded their mobile phone due to a service issue, 55% said their coverage experience improved; and
  • 48% of people that kept the same device but switched provider experienced improved mobile coverage.

In terms of switching, it’s really straightforward using’s SIM-only comparison - and you could save hundreds by moving to one of these deals.

We also have information on mobile phone networks like eir Mobile, iD, Lycamobile, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone, so you can read about the additional services, deals and coverage available from each one and see which might work best for you.

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