The latest quarterly report from Irish regulator ComReg has revealed that the Irish telecoms market was valued at just over EUR4 billion in 2005, 48% of which was generated from the mobile sector. Mobile penetration passed the 100% mark just before the end of 2005, and at 31 December 2005 there were 4.2 million mobile subscribers in the country, corresponding to a 102% penetration rate.
The report also shows that the broadband market grew rapidly, with over 58,000 new subscribers added in the fourth quarter, taking the total number to 270,000. 31% of all internet subscribers are using some form of broadband, up from 17% at the end of 2004. However, despite the growth, Ireland still lags in terms of broadband adoption, with an overall penetration figure of only 5.3%. This compares to an average of 13% among the EU-15, 14.9% in the UK and 23.8% in the Netherlands. Incumbent eircom’s broadband market share fell from 67% to 56% during 2005, while that of BT Ireland and UTV remained stable at around 20 percent. The prime beneficiaries were the alternative providers, such as Digiweb and Magnet, with broadband market share growth from 16% to 25%.
In terms of the fixed line voice telephony market, carrier pre-select and wholesale line rental services increased by 19% in 2005. By the end of the year 200,000 lines were being supplied by operators other than eircom using the single-billing/wholesale line rental product.